In an Aug. 29 research note, BTIG analyst Thomas Shrader reported that just released topline data are "as hoped" from Esperion Therapeutics Inc.'s (ESPR:NASDAQ) Phase 2 trial of bempedoic acid-ezetimibe combination therapy in patients with hypercholesterolemia and type 2 diabetes.
Shrader relayed the results, which were from the study's 12-week point.
The trial met primary and key secondary endpoints. For one, low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol dropped "an impressive" 40% versus 20% in patients getting ezetimibe alone. HsCRP decreased 25%. Glycemic control did not worsen, and there were no increases in adverse events.
In about 40% of the patients, LDL cholesterol decreased by more than 50% to levels under 70 milligrams per deciliter. This compares to about 5% in the ezetimibe-only cohort. These combination patients also experienced 27% reductions in total cholesterol and ApoB along with a 33% drop in non-high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
What this means, highlighted Shrader, is the bempedoic acid combination got "two times the number of patients to a moderately better place (LDL cholesterol less than 100) and nearly eight times the patients to the new happy zone (LDL cholesterol lower than 70)." In other words, 20% of the market is not achieving the latter.
Shrader pointed out that "a potentially a nice attribute of" bempedoic acid is it might be a better choice for people on the cusp of developing type 2 diabetes because other statins at high doses tend to increase HbA1c. However, "a lot more work needs to be done to establish this claim," he added.
Esperion is currently working with payers to get the drug into the lowest co-pay tiers, noted Shrader. "We see these negotiations with payers as important and a key read on market 'pull' for bempedoic acid."
BTIG has a Buy rating and an $82 per share target price on Esperion. The stock is currently trading at around $33.59 per share.[NLINSERT]
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Disclosures from BTIG, Esperion Therapeutics Inc., August 29, 2019
Analyst Certification I, Thomas Shrader, PhD, CFA, hereby certify that the views about the companies and securities discussed in this report are accurately expressed and that I have not received and will not receive direct or indirect compensation in exchange for expressing specific recommendations or views in this report.
I, Julian Harrison, hereby certify that the views about the companies and securities discussed in this report are accurately expressed and that I have not received and will not receive direct or indirect compensation in exchange for expressing specific recommendations or views in this report.
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