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Juno Therapeutics leaps on promising clinical data

T lymphocytes and cancer cell, computer illustration.
Science Artwork | Science Photo Library | Getty Images
T lymphocytes and cancer cell, computer illustration.

Shares of Juno Therapeutics gained nearly 10.5 percent Monday after the company released promising clinical data for one of its leukemia treatments.

The biopharmaceutical company has been developing chimeric antigen receptor technology, a line of therapies that would teach certain white blood cells how to recognize and kill cancer cells. The commercialization of the product line would have a huge effect on cancer immunotherapy because the cancer cells would be identified by proteins on the surface of the cells that are specific to it.

Juno saw optimistic results for the drug in patients with a form of leukemia where the bone marrow makes too many lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell.

Ninety percent of patients with minimal disease and 77 percent of those with an advanced form of the disease saw a complete response, also known as complete remission.

"The ongoing efficacy and duration of response for a large percentage of patients, specifically those who do not go on to stem cell transplant, continues to be impressive," Mark Gilbert, chief medical officer of Juno, said in a statement.

"These findings provide us with further confidence about our development strategy and the ongoing Phase II ROCKET pivotal trial," he said.

Reuters reported that Juno CEO Hans Bishop also said that the company believes the drug could be approved as soon as 2017 and that a mid-stage trail could "support accelerated approval.

The announcement is giving the stock a much needed lift as it is down more than 29 percent in the last year.