Conatus liver drug shows promise in mid-stage trial

Thursday, 7 January 2016 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc said its experimental drug reduced the presence of a protein fragment in patients with liver cirrhosis in a mid-stage trial.

The company’s shares rose 13% to $3.25 in after-market trading on Tuesday.

The drug, emricasan, showed a statistically significant reduction in the protein fragment, caspase-cleaved cytokeratin 18 (cCK18), when compared with a placebo, in the overall patient population, according to the three-month data.

Patients with advanced liver disease and cirrhosis usually have higher levels of cCK18.

Conatus said the drug showed consistent improvement across additional liver disease biomarkers in the overall patient population.

The company said it expects to report six-month data from patients who continued the treatment in the second quarter.

The six-month data will also allow the company to determine if the mid-stage trial could qualify as a late-stage study, Conatus said.

Emricasan is being tested for multiple liver indications.

Up to Tuesday’s close of $2.87, Conatus shares had declined 71% in the past 12 months.