NPS Charts Positive Results on Parathyroid Drug

11/7/11Follow @arleneweintraub

NPS Pharmaceuticals’ (NASDAQ: NPSP) wild week continues today with the release of Phase 3 trial results on NPSP558, its experimental drug to treat hypoparathyroidism, a rare endocrine disorder characterized by insufficient levels of parathyroid hormone. The study shows that in 53 percent of patients, the drug achieved its treatment endpoint, namely that patients were able to halve their intake of Vitamin D and calcium supplements—which must be taken in dangerously high doses to control the symptoms of the disease.

Shares were up 11 percent in pre-market trading to $6.25.

Just one week ago, NPS’s stock took a 33 percent hit on news that three patients in a trial of its other lead drug candidate, teduglutide (Gattex), had developed cancer and two of them died. NPS CEO Francois Nader and other top executives spent much of last week on the phone with Wall Street analysts explaining why they were certain there was no evidence of a link between the drug—which is being developed to treat a rare disorder called short bowel syndrome—and the cancer cases. The company’s earnings report on Thursday contained no big surprises. Nevertheless, NPS’s stock closed Friday at $5.61, well below its October 31 opening price of $6.91.

Based on the results of the NPSP558 trial, the company says it will file for FDA approval in 2012. NPS is still on track to file for FDA approval of teduglutide by the end of this year.

If all goes well, estimates Leerink Swann analyst Joshua Schimmer, NPS could be bringing in annual sales of $58 million on NPSP558 and $109 million on teduglutide by the end of 2014.

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