January 20, 2010 / 12:39 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 2-Lexicon diabetes drug meets mid-stage trial goal

* Drug meets main and secondary goals

* Also shows weight reduction in patients

* Shares up 46 pct (Recasts; adds company comments, updates share movement)

By Krishnakali Sengupta

BANGALORE, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Lexicon Pharmaceuticals Inc (LXRX.O) said its experimental diabetes drug met the main goals of a mid-stage trial, sending its shares soaring 46 percent in morning trade.

Data from the mid-stage study of the drug, LX4211, showed improvements in glycemic control, suggesting statistical significance in the primary and multiple secondary efficacy goals, the company said.

“Today’s results lay down the foundation for partnership talks ... the primary care diabetes market is a huge opportunity for the company and they will have to partner the drug to send it across the finish line,” Thomas Weisel Partners analyst Stephen Willey said by phone.

The company said it was already in discussions with potential partners for the drug, adding that there were some awaiting the trial results.

Lexicon is planning to conduct a longer mid-stage study where it will focus on evaluating the drug’s additional metabolic advantages, company spokesman Wade Walke said.

The study enrolled 36 patients with type 2 diabetes who were randomized into one of two treatment arms, receiving either a dummy drug or a dose of either 150 milligrams or 300 milligrams of LX4211.

“The primary objective of the study was to verify the safety and tolerability of the drug, which we clearly met while the primary endpoint of the study was to show increase in 24-hour urinary glucose excretion,” Philip Brown, senior vice president of clinical development at Lexicon told Reuters by phone.

Lexicon said after four weeks of dosing, blood glucose levels were significantly reduced in both the LX4211 dosages, as compared to the placebo group.

Additionally, with respect to broader metabolic and cardiovascular safety parameters, patients in both dose groups showed weight reduction along with lower blood pressure and triglycerides, the company said.

The drug’s biggest advantage over other type 2 diabetes drugs in the market is that it leads to “meaningful” weight reduction in patients, spokesman Walke said.

However, Walke said the company was not currently planning to develop LX4211 as an anti-obesity drug.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body loses its ability to use insulin to convert food to fuel, and may lead to multiple complications including heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure.

Earlier in September, the company told Reuters that it was looking for a marketing partner for the drug, but did not face a time limit to sign a partnership as it had enough capital to keep the business in operation through the middle of next year.

In addition to LX4211, Lexicon currently has three drug candidates progressing through mid-stage clinical trials for the treatment of tumors, arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome.

Shares of the company touched a high of $2.87, but later paired some gains to trade up 20 percent at $2.37 Wednesday morning on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Krishnakali Sengupta in Bangalore; Editing by Ratul Ray Chaudhuri)

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