* Co got access to vaccine through Cell Genesys takeover
* Shares rise 9 pct before the bell
March 15 (Reuters) - BioSante Pharmaceuticals Inc BPAX.O said the U.S. health regulator granted orphan drug status to its experimental pancreatic cancer vaccine, sending its shares up more than 9 percent.
The specialty pharmaceutical company gained access to the vaccine, called GVAX pancreas vaccine, through its takeover of Cell Genesys last year in an all-stock deal. [ID:nBNG484028]
The ongoing GVAX pancreas vaccine trials are designed to determine the safety, overall survival and response to the vaccine combined with various anti-cancer agents, as compared to those agents on their own or in combination with other agents.
Orphan drug designation is granted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to drugs or biologics that treat a condition affecting less than 200,000 Americans.
The status grants the drugmaker a marketing exclusivity of seven years in the United States, upon approval.
Shares of the company rose 9 percent to $1.99 in pre-market trade. They closed at $1.82 Friday on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Esha Dey in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)