Shares of Intercept Pharmaceuticals (ICPT) are off 12% premarket on mediocre volume in apparent response The Street's article stating the company's liver disease drug, obeticholic acid (OCA), may cause significant lipid abnormalities, an observation made from its Phase 3 clinical trial evaluating the drug in patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Intercept executives appear to have made the decision to downplay the potential negative ramifications of the lipid effects according to a series of January 2014 emails exchanged between the company and a division of NIH.
When the news broke on January 9 about the early stoppage of the trial because of the "highly statistically significant improvement" in the livers of NASH patients treated with OCA versus placebo, the stock rocketed from $72 to $445. Nothing was disclosed about OCA's lipid effects and its role in the decision to stop the trial.
Intercept's market cap is $5.5B so there may be a good-sized haircut for longs awaiting if OCA's potential deleterious lipid effects are confirmed.