Prana shares soar on IIa Alzheimer's data

Positive efficacy and safety data from a Phase IIa study of an experimental Alzheimer's treatment from Australia's Prana Biotechnology sent its shares soaring more than 50 percent yesterday. The 78-patient study of PBT2 demonstrated a statistically significant response in two of the four "executive function tests" studied in the trial. For tiny Prana, which has been working on its Alzheimer's therapy for years, the data could have big implications. Instead of attempting to reduce the secretion of amyloid proteins associated with plaque, PBT2 attempts to stop the reaction between the proteins and zinc and copper in the brain. As CNBC's Mike Huckman points out, the data significantly boosts Prana's opportunities to strike a rich collaboration deal.

"This is a very exciting and important milestone for the company, particularly because PBT2, a drug known to inhibit the toxic oligomers of Abeta that cause the functional damage in Alzheimer's disease, was able to show such a clear effect in a short trial," said Prana in a statement.

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