Shares in Geron were up 50% yesterday afternoon amid a trading frenzy ignited by news of a very promising performance by its blood cancer drug imetelstat in clinical trials.

The stock had surged more than 70% after the American Society of Haematology released an abstract on the Mayo Clinic trial showing that, out of 18 patients with myelofibrosis, four (22%) had complete remission, one partial remission and three patients exhibited clinical improvement.

Investors are particularly excited because no other JAK inhibitor - including Incyte's Jakavi - has shown any capability in inducing a complete or even partial remission, just managing clinical improvement as a best case scenario.

Imetelstat is a first-in-class telomerase inhibitor currently being studied by the firm for the treatment of haematologic malignancies.

Further data from the trial will be presented at the ASH annual conference next month.

The one-time stem cell therapy pioneer could do with a solid pipeline success - towards the end of last year Geron announced the death of GRN1005, its peptide-drug conjugate designed to treat cancers in the brain, alongside a reduction in workforce from 107 to 64.