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While gains were modest across the three major benchmarks today (Tuesday), there was nothing modest about these major gains for Furiex Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: FURX) stock.
Shares of Furiex more than doubled in value, surging some 150% intraday. The closed up 129.91% at $105.69. The reason: The company announced that its experimental drug eluxadoline significantly alleviated diarrhea and abdominal pain, which typically accompany irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), in two large late-stage trials.
Thanks to the positive study results, Furiex will apply for U.S. FDA approval of eluxadoline by mid-year. The company also plans to seek European approval of eluxadoline in early 2015.
Eluxadoline treats diarrhea and reduces pain without causing constipation. It is designed to work like the opioid painkiller oxycodone, except only in the gut.
"We believe that there are a lot of patients out there who need this drug," June Almenoff, Furiex Chief Medical Officer, told Reuters. "There is a huge unmet need."
Indeed, some 28 million people in the United State and Europe suffer from IBS. It's one of the most common disorders of the digestive system, and up to one-third of the population experiences symptoms from time to time, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
While a number of drugs on the market are approved for IBS-related constipation, few treatments exist for diarrhea-predominant IBS.
In a sign than bodes well for the company, eluxadoline has been granted fast-track approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That means the strict government agency sees potential in the treatment and will accelerate its review of the drug.
That also means huge potential for Furiex and its stock, should eluxadoline get the FDA nod – just check out this sales forecast…
Furiex: Potential for a Blockbuster Drug
Eluxadoline has the potential to be a blockbuster-selling drug, with annual sales of $750 million to $1 billion, according to founding chairman Fred Eshelman.
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The Morrisville, N.C.-based company plans to present a more in-depth analysis of the late-stage studies at an upcoming medical meeting.
Furiex was formed as a one-person consulting firm nearly three decades ago. Eshelman successfully grew the company through strategic collaborations and acquisitions.
In addition to its promising IBS treatment, Furiex has a robust and diversified pipeline portfolio.
Drug candidates include treatments for type II diabetes and premature ejaculation, as well as antibiotics, which are in the clinical development stages through to global commercialization.
For more of this year's hottest pharma stock picks like Furiex (FURX), read The New Way to Make Big Money in Biotech
- Furiex Pharmaceuticals:
- The Wall Street Journal:
Furiex Pharmaceuticals Announces Positive Top-Line Results…
Furiex Irritable Bowel Syndrome Drug Succeeds in Large Trials