BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Wednesday that results from anextended study of its lead compound demonstrated favorableresponses in 14 of 19 patients with Stage I/IIa cutaneous T celllymphoma (CTCL).

The news helped push the Birmingham, Ala., company's stock(NASDAQ:BCRX) up 32 percent, or $2, to close at $8.25 per shareWednesday.

Twenty-four patients who completed six weeks of treatment in aPhase II study of topical BCX-34 agreed to continue treatment for sixmonths in an open-label study. Nineteen of the 24 patients completedtheir treatment course.

Clinical clearance of disease was achieved in 11 patients, andcomplete clearance was confirmed by biopsy in seven patients, aninvestigator reported at a dermatology conference last week. Threeother patients achieved partial remissions, and three had no change orwere worse.

"Based on these encouraging results, we plan to initiate pivotal PhaseIII studies in June," said Charles Bugg, BioCryst's and CEO.

CTCL is a form of cancer in which thick, scaly lesions on the skinprogress to ulcers and tumors of the lymph nodes and internal organs.BioCryst is trying to stop the disease before it progresses to thesystemic stage.

BCX-34 is designed to inhibit purine nucleoside phosphorylase, anenzyme involved in proliferation of T cells. The compound also isbeing tested against psoriasis. The company plans further Phase IIstudies in that indication, most likely after the summer, said RonaldGray, the company's chief financial officer. _ Jim Shrine

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