In the biotech sector, investors have plenty of reason to cheer EnteroMedics Inc (NASDAQ:ETRM) and GenVec Inc (NASDAQ:GNVC) today as shares continue their fleet ascent. Let’s take a closer look:

EnteroMedics Expands vBloc Therapy to Maryland and South Carolina

ETRM shares are surging on an almost 27% upturn following the firm’s announcement of an expansion of its “vBloc” neurometabolic therapy, an obesity treatment that controls and curbs the sensations of hunger via a simulation device much like a pacemaker implanted beneath the patient’s skin.

News broke that both MedStar Health in Maryland as well as Roper St. Francis in South Carolina have now added ETRM’s vBloc therapy to their institutions, an update well-received by investors, who promptly sent shares soaring.

This treatment expansion is an exciting, key step forward for the firm.

For context, the FDA approved ETRM’s Maestro Rechargeable System back in 2015, a vagal blocking device designed to deliver vBloc therapy, which sends electric signals to the vagus nerve, blocking the primary nerve messaging delivered from the brain and the stomach that an appetite needs to be satiated, essentially delaying digestion. By regulating the digestive system, the Maestro is able to control hunger as well as fullness.

This was not the first time vagus nerve stimulation has come into play, previously treating patients suffering from gastroparesis, a delayed emptying of the stomach, as well as for those afflicted with depression and epilepsy. However, the difference is that never before had this technology been applied in this indication. Therefore, ETRM made waves when it first received its first FDA approval in a decade for a device to treat obesity.

Additionally, this technology is backed by Europe’s CE Mark and the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) lists the Maestro Rechargeable System for supply on its Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG).

As more institutions continue to utilize EnteroMedics’ patented vBloc neurometabolic therapy technology, the firm will have even greater access to treating obesity on a broader spectrum, placing ETRM shares at a pivotal advantage.

GenVec Announces Strategic Collaboration with Washington University in St. Louis

GenVec shares have been on a charged rise, racing up at 77% today on the heels of last Thursday’s pre-market announcement of a signed option agreement with Washington University in St. Louis to license intellectual property and technology, with a focus on gene editing coupled with pulmonary endothelial cell targeting.

For GNVC president and CEO Douglas Swirsky, this agreement lays the groundwork for the firm’s clinical pipeline success, noting, “This agreement provides GenVec with the foundation to establish a proprietary and differentiated program using an individual’s pulmonary endothelium as a site for protein production.”

Moreover, Swirsky contends, “Proprietary vectors from our AdenoVerse platform are well suited for the delivery of gene editing payloads and could be useful in emerging therapeutic approaches to the long-term correction of genetic disorders such as those that cause blood factor deficiencies.”

Investors have liked what they’ve heard, considering the strategic deal allows the firm to expand its prospects in treating conditions like hemophilia, which have significant unmet needs, rendering GNVC’s platform a “compelling” one moving forward.

As far as GenVec chief scientific officer Dr. Douglas Brough sees the deal, all roads glint with possibility, as he declares, “We are excited to have the opportunity to expand our collaboration with Washington University.”