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Esperion Strikes Home Run On First Study For Cholesterol Drug


  • Esperion Therapeutics announced positive results for a late-stage study treating patients with high cholesterol.
  • Bempedoic acid was able to beat out placebo by a wide margin.
  • There are more than 3 other readouts expected for 2018, which could cause the share price to trader higher in the coming months.
  • Competitors have a higher cost and require injections, which gives bempedoic acid an edge.
  • Esperion has cash to last until 2020, which will carry it though many other catalysts before running out.

Recently, Esperion Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ESPR) announced positive results for its phase 3 trial treating patients with high cholesterol. Patients recruited into the trial were those who had statin intolerance, and who had atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease or at a high risk for the disease. The results were nothing short of amazing, and although it was only the first study to be reported, I believe this program has a promising future. That's what makes ESPR a great buy.

Phase 3 Data

The newly reported positive phase 3 data is very important. That's because, for starters, it was the first of many to be reported. There are other studies to be reported in the coming year which can shed more light on the entire cholesterol drug program for bempedoic acid. Still, the results were very good. It was shown that patients treated over a 12-week period with bempedoic acid fared better than those who were given placebo. It was shown that there was a statistically significant reduction of LDL-C by 28% for those who took 180 mg of bempedoic acid. This was the primary endpoint of the study. It gave a p-value of p < 0.001.

In addition, the change in baseline of those treated with bempedoic acid was 23%. Why is that important? That's because those treated in the placebo group saw an increase of 5% in LDL-C. This data paints a good picture, but there was something else that was noteworthy from the study. It was shown that patients treated with bempedoic acid also experienced a 33% reduction for a biomarker called C-reactive protein. That's important because C-reactive protein is a biomarker for inflammation of cardiovascular disease. This compared to the placebo group, which saw an increase in C-reactive protein of 2%. The difference in this biomarker between treatment and placebo was also statistically significant with a p-value of p <0.001.

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This article was written by

Terry Chrisomalis profile picture

Terry Chrisomalis is a private investor in the Biotech sector with years of experience utilizing his Applied Science background to generate long term value from Healthcare.

He is the author of the investing group Biotech Analysis Central which contains a library of 600+ Biotech investing articles, a model portfolio of 10+ small and mid-cap stocks with deep analysis for each, live chat, and a range of analysis and news reports to help Healthcare investors make informed decisions.

Analyst’s Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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Comments (7)

Bright spot profile picture
$135 here we come again :)
25%, 40%
Manzil profile picture
Gemcabene (by Gemphire) is being developed as an add-on treatment to statins, whereas ESPR's Bempedoic Acid is a replacement for statins. Also I think Gemcabene, for what it's worth, was abandoned by Pfizer before Gemphire licensed it.
nsolot profile picture
"I think Gemcabene, for what it's worth, was abandoned by Pfizer before Gemphire licensed it."

More or less. I think Pfizer ran 17 studies and then concluded:

" The full modeling results, backed by data from multiple trials and displayed in DMX, made it clear to the team that gemcabene combination therapy would not provide superior cholesterol-lowering benefit versus ezetimibe combinations."


That said, Pfizer still owns Gemcabene, and GEMP, if successful in their studies, will have to pay Pfizer some big royalty payments.

The results from GEMP's phase 2b study, released August 7, 2017 were less than what ESPR just reported in their phase 3:

"Fifty-six (56) females and 49 males with a mean age of 61 years were enrolled. The mean baseline LDL-C was 130 mg/dL. Gemcabene 600 mg produced a mean percent change in LDL-C of -17.2% vs -5.5% for placebo (ANCOVA: p=0.0057). Gemcabene 600 mg produced a median percent change in hsCRP of -40.0% (ranked ANCOVA: p<0.0001) vs -6.1% for placebo. Additional secondary results and subpopulations assessments will be provided once the full dataset has been analyzed."

On the conf call they explained that Gemcabene only lowered LDL-C by ~12% when adjusted for the 5% reduction in the placebo patients.
You have no idea. Do you know people at both companies?
So without placebo, espr has 23% ldlc and 33% hscrp. Look at Gemphire.
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