Fennec Pharmaceuticals, a Research Triangle Park pharmaceutical firm, began trading on the Nasdaq Wednesday.
The company focuses on developing sodium thiosulfate to prevent drug- or chemical-related damage to the inner ear in pediatric patients.
Its stock has traded on the over-the-counter market as FENCF since January 2009. It also trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Fennec trades as FENC. On Thursday, shares closed at $12.19, up 19 cents.
“We look forward to the expanded visibility, improved liquidity and the potential diversification of our stockholder base that the trading on the Nasdaq may provide as we continue to focus on increasing stockholder value,” Rosty Raykov, CEO of Fennec, said in a press release.
Fennec was founded in 1996 as Adherex. It traded on the American Stock Exchange for about five years until it was delisted in 2009 for being out of compliance with listing requirements. At the time it was working on a drug that would lessen the side-effects of chemotherapy.
Its current treatment is aimed at pediatric cancer patients whose chemotherapy treatments result in hearing loss. This can happen in children whose chemo includes the medication cisplatin and other platinum-based compounds. Although these components are essential in treating many pediatric malignancies, they can damage the inner ear and cause temporary or permanent hearing loss and affect balance.
Currently, those who suffer from it typically need expensive and technically difficult cochlear implants to alleviate the condition, said Robert Andrade, Fennec’s chief financial officer.
Fennec has been studying how sodium thiosulfate could prevent the harmful effects of platinum treatments in two Phase 3 clinical studies.
“By the administration of STS after about six-hour delay, our results from two trials show a significant improvement in the retention of hearing,” Andrade said. “That’s what we’ve been focused on for this company.”
On Wednesday, the company announced preliminary results from a study that shows sodium thiosulfate significantly reduced the incidence of cisplatin-induced hearing loss without protecting tumors. The findings will be presented at an international pediatric oncology meeting next month.
More than 7,000 children are diagnosed with localized cancers and may receive platinum-based chemotherapy to treat them. Those who receive such treatments have survival rates that exceed 80 percent. The hearing loss resulting from the chemotherapy often depends on what kind of dose they receive and how long the treatment lasts. Many of them, however, require lifelong hearing aids.
“It’s impactful both socially and educationally for a child to develop their hearing,” Andrade said. “We hope to improve and better the quality of life of these children.”
About that name
Fennec’s name comes from the fennec fox which lives in Saharan North Africa, according to its website. This animal has adapted to living in high-temperature, low-water environments and has large ears, giving it sensitive hearing.