Promising liver data triggers spike in Raptor shares

Novato, CA-based Raptor Pharmaceutical (NASDAQ: RPTP) scored a big hit with investors this morning. The biotech saw its shares surge 29 percent on the news that a tiny mid-stage study produced promising enzyme data for liver disease.

The Phase IIa study of delayed-release cysteamine bitartrate recruited only 11 adolescent patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis with high levels of two enzymes that serve as key biomarkers of liver disease. Seven of the 11 demonstrated a sharp drop in their levels of alanine transaminase with subjects seeing a 41 percent drop in their level of aspartate aminotransferase.

"While we are very pleased with the substantial impact seen on liver transaminases, we are particularly encouraged by the rapid drug effect we saw during the early phases of the study as well as the sustained liver enzyme reductions following drug withdrawal," Chief Medical Officer Patrice Rioux says in a statement. Raptor shares jumped to $3.15 by mid-morning.

- here's Raptor's press release
- and here's the Reuters report