Intercept Pharmaceuticals is apparently experiencing a positive momentum, following the hardship over the last 8 months, which had caused shares to drop–they have fallen approximately 50% starting from September 2017. The positive phase reflects the New York-based company issuing new shares for a total of $250m, which have made Intercept’s shares rise by 17% over the last week. Additionally, investors are apparently taking new interest in Intercept, after moving away from it as it had been announced that some patients had been killed by excessive dose of Ocaliva (obeticholic acid), prescribed by some physicians. Ocaliva is Intercept’s main asset and is already approved for the treatment of primary biliary cholangitis. The company is striving to obtain an approval for non-alcoholic fatty-liver disease (NASH): in that case, the drug would be very likely to exceed £1bn revenues per year. Indeed, despite NASH is a fairly common condition, affecting 2 to 5% of adults in the US, no efficient NASH therapy is currently available and Ocaliva has demonstrated efficacy in clinical trials in at least 46% of cases.
Moreover, FDA has issued an updated safety communication for the drug; at the same time, Intercept has reviewed the indications and prescribing information for Ocaliva, which has calmed investors. Intercept’s main competitor is France-based Genefit, which has just completed a Phase II clinical trial with an investigational NASH therapy.