* Double dose lowered blood sugar faster than liquid form
* Plans to start another mid-stage study in Q2 2011
* Shares up 36 percent
(Adds details; updates shares)
By Shravya Jain and Rajarshi Basu
BANGALORE, Jan 6 Lexicon Pharmaceuticals Inc
(LXRX.O) said it would move ahead with development of a tablet
version of its key drug for type-2 diabetes that showed
encouraging data in a mid-stage study, sending its shares up 36
Coming on the heels of disappointing results from its
arthritis drug in mid-December, the new study bolstered
expectations that the company may as yet have a potential
blockbuster on its hands, sending Lexicon's stock up as much as
a third in value.
"Producing a solid version of the drug is better as its
potential competitors also have tablet versions, which are
easier to store and consume," Morningstar Inc analyst Karen
A liquid version of Lexicon's drug, LX4211, had already
shown promise in a mid-stage study last January.
The most recent study showed that while a single dose of
the drug showed results that were consistent with the liquid
version, a double dose of the tablet rapidly lowered blood
"Right now, I expect the drug to reach the market by 2015
and, if approved, then within five years sales could reach $2
billion globally," analyst Andersen said.
She expects Lexicon to find a partner to market the drug
"(A potential partner) could be someone familiar with the
diabetes space but one who does not have something similar to
this class of drugs. [It] could be someone like Merck (MRK.N)."
Lexicon said it plans to start another mid-stage study of
the tablet version in the second quarter of 2011.
The Woodlands, Texas-based company's shares, which have fallen
10 percent since it reported disappointing results of a
mid-stage study of the arthritis drug, were up 29 percent at
$1.95 on Thursday afternoon on Nasdaq. They touched a high of
$2.06 earlier in the day.
Nearly 15 million shares changed hands by 1310 ET, about 15
times their 25-day trading volume.
(Reporting by Shravya Jain in Bangalore; Editing by Anthony
Kurian, Unnikrishnan Nair)