Shares of Nuvelo, Inc. (Nasdaq: NUVO) skyrocketed on Tuesday following news that drug maker's cancer drug was granted fast-track status by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Shares rose 77 cents, or 24.9 percent, to $3.86 in afternoon trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

The FDA's designation means that Nuvelo can submit information to support its drug, rNAPc2, as information becomes available. The status is typically given to drugs that show potential to treat serious or life-threatening conditions.

Nuvelo's rNAPc2 is an anticoagulant which can prevent blood clot formations. The firm believes the same mechanism that forms the clots plays a role in the cellular signaling of both metastasis and angiogenesis in a variety of cancers.

The drug also received fast track status as a second-line treatment in colorectal cancer patients in combination with chemotherapy.