Drug trial vaults value of small bio-tech firm to $5.3 billion

Jan. 10, 2014 at 1:29 PM
share with facebook
share with twitter

NEW YORK, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- The value of a biotech company from New York with fewer than 50 employees jumped by $3.9 billion in one day on the Nasdaq stock index this week.

The company, Intercept Pharmaceuticals Inc., which is housed in the Meatpacking District in Manhattan and went public in 2012, has yet to put any products on the market.

But after the company's liver disease treatment was revealed to have done well in a clinical trial, company stock prices nearly quadrupled Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The value of the company soared from $1.4 billion to $5.3 billion in a day -- the biggest jump for a Nasdaq listed firm valued at more than $1 billion since 2012, FactSet Research Inc. said.

Among comparable-size companies, three others have gained more than 100 percent in value since 2012, FactSet said.

Thirty-one percent of the company is owned by Italian investment firm Genextra SpA, which specializes in biotech investments.

"My reaction is 'Wow,'" Intercept Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Mark Pruzanski said.

"We didn't expect this. The bar for stopping the study for efficacy was so high from a statistical significance standpoint that on an interim analysis like this, it seemed out of sight. We couldn't be happier with the result."

The drug under development is called obeticholic acid, or OCA. It is intended to protect the liver from fat buildup by imitating a natural component of bile.

The fat buildup, called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, can lead to liver failure. Often there are no early symptoms, the Journal said.

Currently, there are no medical treatments that specifically target the disease.

"We anticipate OCA could be a potential blockbuster drug," said Jim Molloy at Janney Capital Markets in a research note.

Before the drug trial results were made known, Molloy had estimated OCA sales would reach about $2 billion per year by 2020 if it makes it to market.

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories