Esperion Therapeutics, Inc.’s ESPR shares shot up 29.18% on positive top-line data from a 12-week, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group phase IIb study on lead pipeline candidate, ETC-1002, which is being developed for patients with hypercholesterolemia on stable statin therapy.
The study evaluated the safety and efficacy of ETC-1002 versus placebo. The study showed that patients on ETC-1002 achieved greater incremental reductions in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels compared to patients who received stable statin therapy alone.
The company also intends to initiate a phase III study by this year-end.
We note that the company also intends to evaluate ETC-1002 with cholesterol reducing drug, Zetia (ezetimibe).
The cholesterol market is highly lucrative and represents huge commercial opportunity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 71 million adults in the U.S. have elevated levels of LDL-cholesterol. Despite the presence of several treatments, quite a few companies are working on bringing new and better treatments to market.
Currently, PCSK9 inhibitors like Amgen’s AMGN Repatha and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ REGN Praluent are under regulatory review. Praulent could be the first PCSK9 inhibitor to gain approval in the U.S. – the FDA is expected to respond on the candidate’s approval status by Jul 24.
With ETC-1002 being Esperion’s lead pipeline candidate, we expect investors to focus to remain on further updates on the candidate. Esperion’s initial focus will be on the use of ETC-1002 as a therapy for patients with primary hypercholesterolemia who are intolerant of statins.
Esperion carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A better-ranked stock in the health care sector include Lannett Company, Inc. LCI, sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
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