Shares of First Wave BioPharma Inc. rocketed 46.6% on very heavy volume in premarket trading Tuesday, after the biopharmaceutical company said an independent data monitoring committee (DMC) recommended continued enrollment in a Phase 2 trial of its treatment (FW-COV) for COVID-19-related gastrointestinal (GI) infections. Trading volume spiked to 12.0 million shares ahead of the open, enough to make the stock the most actively traded in the premarket, and compared with the full-day average of about 1.4 million shares. FW-COV is an oral tablet developed to remove SARS-CoV-2 from the GI tract. The DMC recommendation was based on its review of safety data, as no safety issues were uncovered. “Because niclosamide targets the entire virus, and not just the spike protein, we believe that FW-COV may prove effective against multiple strains of COVID-19 and may provide an effective therapeutic to help millions of COVID-19 patients overcome the debilitating and often overlooked effect the virus can have on the GI system,” said Chief Executive James Sapirstein. The stock, which underwent a 1-for-10 reverse stock split in September, and closed at a split-adjusted record low of $1.86 on Nov. 23, has plunged 68.5% over the past three months through Monday, while the iShares Biotechnology ETF has lost 9.3% and the S&P 500 has gained 2.8%.
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