BANGALORE, March 21 Shares of InterMune Inc
rose as much as 17 percent on Friday after data showed
German drugmaker Boehringer Ingleheim's rival drug had mixed
results in late-stage trials.
Data from two late-stage trials of Boehringer's nintedanib
showed the drug improved patients' lung function, but one trial
fell short of meeting its key secondary goals of improving
overall health and delaying a disease flare up.
Nintedanib and InterMune's pirfenidone are aimed at treating
idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) - an irreversible condition
that leads to progressive loss of lung function due to scarring,
which hinders a lung's ability to absorb oxygen.
InterMune recently completed a late-stage trial of
pirfenidone, which showed that after a year of treatment 16.5
percent of patients taking the drug experienced disease
progression, around half the level of those using a placebo.
Pirfenidone is already in use in Europe, Canada and Asia and
is marketed as Esbriet.
"We believe based on both studies hitting their primary
endpoints that nintedanib could very well be approved... we
believe most patients will likely cycle through both drugs
sequentially such that there could be a $1 billion opportunity
for Esbriet even splitting the market," Wells Fargo Securities
analyst Brian Abrahams wrote in a note.
Data from the two Boehringer trials was published on Friday,
as part of an industry conference. (link.reuters.com/kew77v)
InterMune shares were up 11 percent at $36.42 in morning
trade on the Nasdaq on Friday. They touched a high of $38.29
earlier in the session.
(Reporting by Esha Dey in Bangalore; Editing by Simon Jennings)