Drug company Intercept’s stock price has risen nearly four times to a price of $275.87 after starting at $72.39. Intercept is a small biotech company which currently does not have a product on the market, but its clinical trials on fatty liver disease have been extremely successful and look to provide the first effective treatment for the disease. The company recently stopped its clinical trials on the fatty liver disease drug after the successful findings. The study initially had 283 patients and was sponsored by the National Institute of Health (NIH).
Due to the US obesity epidemic, the market for the potential drug in the US is vast. Many doctors and industry professionals are excited over the potential of the drug to help millions of Americans dealing with illnesses caused by fatty liver disease, including nonalcoholic steatohepatits (NASH). “I think it’s actually very exciting,” said Dr. Gyongyi Szabo, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He was not involved in the study. “In this patient population, we really don’t have any good medication that we can offer.”
Intercept’s CEO, Dr. Mark Pruzanski, called the growing epidemic of NASH in America a “tsunami.” He was optimistic about the study’s results and noted that he intends to meet with the FDA to certify the study as well as set plans for another study needed to confirm the results. The company hopes to have the process completed by 2015, when they could potentially start producing the drug. However, Intercept could have competitors, as there are reports that Gilead Sciences and Galectin Therapeutics are also working on drugs to treat NASH.