The market capitalisation of Irish-US drug development firm Amarin was catapulted to as much as $1.6bn (€1.12bn) yesterday as the latest results from a major product trial encouraged investors that the firm has a multi-billion dollar blockbuster treatment on its hands.
Shares in the Elan spin-off soared more than 70pc in New York in morning trading as investors bet that the firm's AMR-101 product will play a key global role in the treatment of patients who have fatty deposits in their blood.
Results of the latest study on the drug show that in four-gram doses it decreased levels of so-called triglycerides in blood by 21.5pc and by 10.1pc in a two-gram dose.
Importantly, the results also showed that patients using the drug didn't experience elevated readings of so-called "bad cholesterol" -- a result that can occur with similar other associated therapies.
The results come on the heels of earlier data released last November that showed doses of the drug administered to patients with dangerously high levels of triglycerides had a significant beneficial impact.
Following the release of those results, Amarin was valued at $545m (€383m). The latest study was confined to patients with high levels of triglycerides, and thus represents a much wider potential market.
The results also come as a significant fillip to Dublin-based private equity firm Fountain Healthcare Partners. It led a $70m (€53.5m) round of funding into Amarin in October 2009 when the drug firm had been desperately seeking finance in order to survive and its market capitalisation was $25m (€17.5m). Fountain Healthcare has now seen a massive paper return for its investment.
Manus Rogan, managing partner with Fountain Healthcare and an Amarin board member, told the Irish Independent yesterday that his investors were "very happy".
Amarin has already been courted aggressively by several major international drug firms, many of which are keen to replace expiring sources of revenue as one-time money-spinning products come off patent.