Innate Immunotherapeutics is moving into cancer after its Multiple Sclerosis treatment failed in clinical trials last year.

The news sent its shares (ASX:IIL) skyrocketing 187 per cent to 8.9c.

Innate (ASX:IIL) plans to buy Amplia Therapeutics in a scrip deal so it can get its hands on the Focal Adhesion Kinase (FAK) cancer program.

The deal will see Amplia shareholders own 45 per cent of Innate after a share consolidation. Innate will have $2 million in cash available after the deal.

Innate chief Simon Wilkinson said they were looking at using their drug as a cancer treatment while they were looking at MS and as such this move is just a refocus onto an existing area in the business.

Amplia has licensed two FAK targeting drug candidates.

Those shares plunged in June when it became clear the MS drug had failed.

FAK is a kind of cytoplasmic enzyme that enables activation of a certain protein in various types of human cancers.

“There have been multiple independent high-quality publications suggesting that the successful targeting of FAK could increase the efficacy of other immuno-oncology therapies in tumours where to date they have limited anti-tumour effects as single agents,” said Innate director Dr Robert Peach.

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In July last year Innate said a Phase 2b trial of its MS drug had failed to show clinically meaningful or statistically significant differences in neuromuscular function or patient reported outcomes.

“This apparent lack of efficacy at either the overall study population level or the individual patient level is extremely disappointing and inconsistent with previous clinical experience and the reporting of MIS416 treatment benefits by many compassionate use patients over the past eight years,” the company said at the time.