Shares in Alzheimer’s and dementia biotech Actinogen (ASX:ACW) have flown as much as 300 per cent today, after it announced some positive results from a phase I trial in healthy patients.

ACW shares hit 3.6c in early Tuesday trade, comfortably their highest point since early May, after telling investors healthy elderly patients dosed with 20mg of Xanamem daily had shown “statistically significant” cognitive improvement.

It gives the company and its long-suffering shareholders some hope, after 67 per cent of the company’s value was wiped in a single day in May, when its phase II trial of Xanamem failed.

The drug was proven to be safe, but at the 10mg dose did not demonstrate efficacy in improving cognition in patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease.

However, the company continued on, with trials underway to test the drug’s safety in health patients at 20mg and 30mg doses — and it can now progress at the 20mg level. It has yet to reveal plans for more trials, but Dr Bill Ketelbey told the market the results were hugely encouraging, not just for Alzheimer’s but also potentially for other conditions associated with cognitive impairment, including mood disorders like bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

“These are the results we have been looking for. They are hugely important for the development of Xanamem. As we gather and analyse more data from the trial and the other ongoing studies, we are building a much clearer picture of Xanamem’s pharmacology, potential efficacy, safety, and mechanism of action; all of which will aid substantially in planning the future clinical development and commercialisation strategy for the drug,” he said.

“We look forward to sharing Actinogen’s future development plans for Xanamem once they have been reviewed alongside these very pleasing results.”

Professor Michael Woodward from Austin Health, lead investigator, added: “It is just so pleasing and encouraging to see this positive efficacy data for Xanamem, following the disappointment of the XanADu trial. There have been so many past failures with the development of Alzheimer’s drugs, so these promising results offer renewed hope for a treatment breakthrough for this devastating disease.”

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