January 22, 2014 / 5:06 PM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 1-Evoke's inhaled gastro drug better than oral generic

(Adds analyst comments, updates shares)

Jan 22 (Reuters) - Evoke Pharma Inc said its inhaled version of a generic gastrointestinal drug was found to be superior in managing symptoms of a bowel disease compared with the existing oral treatment, sending its shares up as much as 34 percent.

The results of the mid-stage study, published in a medical journal, tested a nasal spray of metoclopramide in 89 diabetic gastroparesis patients dosed four times a day for six weeks.

Gastroparesis, most commonly caused by diabetes, is a sluggish emptying of food from the stomach, which causes nausea. It primarily affects women.

Evoke’s inhaled version of metoclopramide could generate over $400 million in peak annual sales, Aegis Capital analyst Raghuram Selvaraju wrote in a note.

We expect a pivotal study evaluating the treatment to begin enrollment within the next four or five months, he wrote.

The specialty pharmaceutical company acquired the treatment, EVK-001, from Questcor Pharmaceuticals in June 2007.

The nasal spray could improve dose absorption and tolerability as the nature of the disease makes it difficult for patients to digest oral tablets, Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Irina Rivkind said in a note in November.

Metoclopramide is the only product approved in the United States to treat gastroparesis, Evoke said.

Other drugs for the condition, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Propulsid, were taken off the market in the United States due to safety concerns.

The San Diego, California-based company’s shares were up about 25 percent at $12.56 in afternoon trading on the Nasdaq. (Reporting by Natalie Grover in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Don Sebastian)

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