Catalyst Pharma says autoimmune disorder drug safe for heart

Wed Jan 8, 2014 8:52am EST

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Jan 8 (Reuters) - Catalyst Pharmaceutical Partners Inc said a study showed its experimental drug to treat a rare autoimmune disorder did not have an adverse effect on the heart rate of patients.

Catalyst's shares rose 14 percent to $2.31 before the bell.

The company also said the drug, Firdapse, did not affect the time the heart takes to recharge after each beat. If the time is prolonged, the risk of developing irregular heart rhythms increases, the company said.

The safety study, which compared Firdapse to a placebo in 59 healthy volunteers, was required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as part of Catalyst's marketing application.

Firdapse is being tested in a late-stage trial in patients with Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome, a disorder that causes muscle weakness.

Firdapse is approved in the European Union, where it is marketed by BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (Reporting By Vrinda Manocha in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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