Lexicon Pharmaceuticals Inc said its experimental bowel disorder drug met the main goal of reducing bowel movements in patients with gastrointestinal cancer in a mid-stage study, sending its shares up as much as 13 percent on Friday.
The drug telotristat etiprate is being studied to treat carcinoid syndrome, a secondary condition that develops in patients with tumors in the gastrointestinal tract.
Of the 15 patients enrolled in the study, 75 percent reported improvement in carcinoid symptoms at week 12 of the trial. The study also met the secondary goals of reducing abdominal pain and improving stool consistency.
The drug was tested on patients who were unable to tolerate somatostatin analog therapy -- the current treatment for carcinoid syndrome.
However, Morningstar analyst Karen Andersen said the drug could now be potentially used as a first-line therapy.
"Based on the data today I thought it looked like an extremely safe option ... and the efficacy was actually quite impressive. It's looking like a really promising orphan drug," Morningstar's Andersen said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had granted the drug an orphan drug designation in March.
Wedbush Securities Inc analyst Liana Moussatos said the company could file with the FDA for marketing approval in the middle of 2014.
Telotristat etiprate is also being studied in a mid-stage trial to treat ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease.
Lexicon is expected to start late-stage trials of its diabetes drug -- its most advanced drug candidate -- in the first half of 2013.
The company is also testing drugs for irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis and glaucoma.
The Texas-based biopharmaceutical company's shares were up 8 percent at $2.59 on Friday on the Nasdaq.
(Reporting By Pallavi Ail in Bangalore; Editing by Roshni Menon)