Intercept's OCA drug linked with worsened cholesterol levels

|About: Intercept Pharmaceuticals (ICPT)|By:, SA News Editor

Patients who received Intercept Pharmaceuticals' (ICPT) beticholic acid (OCA) for the treatment of NASH in a trial for the chronic liver disease experienced increased bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol, the NIH said after the close on Friday in a statement to the WSJ.

The NIH said it was releasing the information to give "broader context" to its earlier findings that OCA showed a "highly statistically significant improvement" in measures of liver health vs. those who received a placebo

Intercept didn't mention cholesterol abnormalities in two statements it put out on Thursday, nor in a subsequent analyst call. While the NIH told Intercept earlier in the week that patients had experienced "lipid effects," it failed to furnish Intercept with details. "We had no concrete data with respect to lipids," CEO Mark Pruzanski said.

Pruzanski told the WSJ that previous studies have shown that OCA can raise lipid levels, and it was already "very public" that OCA "impacts lipid metabolism."

Intercept's shares skyrocketed 516% on Thursday and Friday to $445.83 following news of the early ending of the study.