Aegerion Pharmaceuticals Inc. on Tuesday presented further late-stage study data for its drug candidate lomitapide, saying the drug is safe for lowering "bad" cholesterol and patients who continued to use it for more than a year maintained reductions.
The trial was designed to test lomitapide's effectiveness and safety as a treatment for homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia, a rare genetic condition that causes severely elevated levels "bad" LDL cholesterol. Based on results from 23 patients, Aegerion said patients had a 44 percent reduction in LDL cholesterol levels and a 33.3 percent reduction in triglyceride levels. That was similar to the results from the first 26 weeks of the trial.
Aegerion said three patients left the trial because of gastrointestinal side effects, and three others withdrew their consent.
All the patients were taking other treatments to reduce their lipid levels, and Aegerion said 13 of the patients were able to use less medication during treatment with lomitapide. The most common side effects of the drug were mild-to-moderate gastrointestinal effects. Those usually occurred after the patient's dosage was increased.
Lomitapide is designed to prevent the liver and intestines from secreting lipids into the bloodstream. Aegerion is also studying the drug as a treatment for familial chylomicronemia, which causes elevated triglyceride levels.
Shares of Aegerion rose 11 cents to $18.58 by midday Tuesday.