June 10, 2014 / 11:10 AM / 6 years ago

REFILE-Receptos shares soar as lead drug meets main goal

(Corrects the spelling of lesion in paragraphs 3 and 4)

June 10 (Reuters) - Shares of Receptos Inc jumped 32 percent in premarket trading after the biotechnology company said its experimental multiple sclerosis drug met the main goal in a mid-stage trial.

Receptos’ study tested the efficacy and safety of two doses of its lead drug, RPC1063, against a placebo in 258 patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS) - the most common form of the disease.

The company said on Monday that both the 0.5 mg and 1 mg doses demonstrated an 86 percent reduction in brain lesion activity compared with the placebo, meeting the main goal of the trial.

A brain lesion is a type of scar caused by damage from MS.

“(The drug) remains differentiated relative to Gilenya and that RCP1063 can be a notable drug in the growing oral MS market place,” Credit Suisse analysts said in a note on Monday.

Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG’s Gilenya was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2010 as the first oral treatment to reduce the frequency of relapses and slow disease progression in patients with relapsing MS.

Receptos is currently enrolling patients in a late-stage study evaluating its drug against Biogen Idec’s injectable Avonex, a commonly prescribed drug first approved for use in 1996.

Multiple sclerosis is an incurable and unpredictable disease of the central nervous system, whose cause is still largely undetermined.

Its symptoms, including blurred vision, loss of balance, fatigue and paralysis, can range from relatively benign to devastating as the communication between the brain and other parts of the body is disrupted.

The condition, which affects over 400,000 people in the United States, is twice as likely to afflict women than men, according to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.

Receptos shares closed at $29.20 on the Nasdaq on Monday. (Reporting by Natalie Grover in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das)

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