Aug 11 Drug developer Intercept Pharmaceuticals
Inc's shares surged as much as 65 percent after the
bell on Monday after the company said its drug to treat liver
disease caused by fat buildup was effective in mid-stage trials.
The drug, obeticholic acid, was tested in patients with
non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a form of liver
inflammation, for which there is no approved treatment.
The company said on Monday liver scarring did not worsen in
46 percent of NASH patients who were given the drug, compared
with 21 percent in the placebo group.
Intercept said on Jan. 9 it had stopped the trial after the
drug showed statistically significant improvement in patients.
The company's shares quadrupled on that day but lost some of
those gains in the past few months as investors raised questions
about the drug's side-effects and awaited full clinical results
of the trial.
"The fear that investors had regarding the safety of the
drug have now been put to rest with this update," Oppenheimer
analyst Akiva Felt told Reuters.
"The statistically significant results of the trial are also
a positive new development."
The company said it plans to start late-stage trials for the
drug in the first half of 2015.
The drug is also being tested as a treatment for primary
biliary cirrhosis, an autoimmune disease in which bile ducts in
the liver are destroyed.
Intercept also posted a profit in the second quarter ended
June 30 compared with a loss a year earlier, helped by a
one-time gain related to revaluation of warrants.
Intercept's shares were up 53 percent at $358.07 after the
(Reporting By Amrutha Penumudi)