Shares of Chimerix Inc., the maker of an experimental drug to combat Ebola, sank Wednesday after the death in Dallas of a patient with the disease who received the medicine.
About two hours after officials announced the death of Thomas Eric Duncan, the Durham, N.C., company’s stock was trading at $30.54, down $2.69, or 8.1%. The shares had hit an all-time high earlier in the day before the announcement.
Duncan was one of two known Ebola patients to take Chimerix’s drug, brincidofovir. American journalist Ashoka Mukpo has also received the treatment.
There is no known medical cure for Ebola, which has killed more than 3,400 in West Africa. On Monday, Chimerix said the Food and Drug Administration had given doctors emergency approval to see whether brincidofovir would be successful in treating the disease.
The medicine, which is administered in tablet form and taken twice weekly, is an antiviral that’s designed to stop the virus from replicating.
The drug has made it to Phase 3 testing against two other viruses – adenovirus and cytomegalovirus – and has shown some promise in fighting Ebola in lab experiments, according to Chimerix.
Duncan, who was visiting the U.S. from Liberia, was the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S.
“It is with profound sadness and heartfelt disappointment that we must inform you of the death of Thomas Eric Duncan this morning at 7:51 a.m.” Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas said in a statement.
Times staff writer Christine Mai-Duc contributed to this report.