Amarin's shares soar after successful drug trial
Shares in Irish drug development firm Amarin soared as much as 60pc in New York yesterday after it said that results from a phase-three trial of its only pipeline product showed that the treatment cut the level of fatty deposits in blood of patients using it by as much as nearly half.
Amarin, which is listed on the Nasdaq, said yesterday that the phase-three trial of its AMR101 treatment was found to have reduced triglyceride levels in patients who had dangerously high baseline readings of the so-called ester by as much as 45pc.
In patients with more moderate, but still very high amounts of triglycerides in their blood, levels decreased by between 20pc and 33pc depending on the dose of AMR101 they were taking.
The company is hoping AMR101 could become a so-called blockbuster drug, with annual sales in excess of $1bn (€762m). The spike in its share price yesterday boosted the market capitalisation of the firm to over $545m (€416m).
Amarin, which is a spin-off from Elan, said that no safety issues arose during the trial.
Importantly, AMR101 was also found not to have increased levels of LDL, or so-called bad cholesterol, in patients using the drug. It's the first such treatment that doesn't do so.
A further study is due to be completed in mid-2011 and subject to approvals the drug could be on the market within two years. Amarin also believes that additional patentable claims could protect the company's exclusive rights to AMR101 up to 2030.
Amarin chief executive Joseph Zakrzewski said he believed the results and the overall profile of AMR101 position the drug to be the "best in class" in the market.
Last year, Amarin raised $70m (€53.5m) to fund continuing development of AMR101. The funding was led by Dublin-based Fountain Healthcare Partners, with a number of international funds having invested in the round.
Manus Rogan, managing partner with Fountain, told the Irish Independent yesterday that the basis of investing in Amarin when it only had one pipeline product was that there was already a significant amount of scientific and clinical data that showed it was safe and had some level of efficacy.