Biotech and Pharma

Juno Therapeutics shares soar as clinical trial resumes

The biopharmaceutical company Juno Therapeutics was given the green light to resume a crucial clinical trial Tuesday, less than a week after federal health regulators halted the phase 2 study on a potential cancer treatment on the heels of two patients dying.

Juno's shares has plummeted last Friday by more than 30 percent after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration imposed the clinical hold on the trial that day.

In the wake of Tuesday's news, Juno shares traded up more than 24 percent in after-hour trading.

Juno had disclosed last Thursday that two people in the trial had died after the company added the chemotherapy drug fludarabine to the regimen in the trial, which involves adult patients with relapsed or refractory B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The trial is known as the "ROCKET" trial.

The treatment is Juno's most advance drug candidate. After the hold was imposed, JPMorgan reduced its price target for Juno shares to $39 from $63, while FBR Capital Markets lower its price target to $61 from $73.

The FDA last week requested that Juno submit a complete response to the hold, which would require the company to revise several documents including its informed consent form and trial protocol.

Under the revised protocol, the ROCKET trial will continue enrollment using JCAR015 with cyclophosphamide pre-conditioning only, the company said.