Esperion's cholesterol drug succeeds in late-stage study

(Reuters) - Esperion Therapeutics Inc said on Wednesday a late-stage trial of its experimental oral drug met the main goal of reducing cholesterol by 28 percent in patients suffering from, or at a high risk of, an artery-clogging heart disease.

The drug developer’s shares were up 4 percent at $81.00 in premarket trading.

Esperion is looking to target patients who are unable to take or do not show improvement with statins, a class of medicines that lower the level of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) in the blood.

Although less potent than PCSK9 inhibitors - newer, injected cholesterol medicines usually prescribed to such patients - Esperion’s drug is expected to be cheaper.

Esperion’s 12-week study tested a 180 mg per day dose of its drug, bempedoic acid, versus a placebo in 269 patients with high cholesterol whose treatments were not adequate.

“The study looks generally fine to us and within our expectation and we appreciate the more important study reads out in May, which is the Phase 3 one-year safety study,” Jefferies analyst Michael Yee said in a client note.

Reporting by Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru, additonal reporting by Akankshita Mukhopadhyay; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila