NPS Pharma rises on early sales of bowel drug

NPS Pharma rises after first report of sales of its bowel drug Gattex; 1Q sales totaled $654K

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of NPS Pharmaceuticals Inc. traded higher Thursday after the company gave its first quarterly sales update for its bowel drug Gattex.

NPS reported $654,000 in first-quarter revenue from Gattex, which went on sale in February. As of May 3, the company said 42 patients were being treated with the drug and 160 prescriptions had been received.

Gattex is approved as a treatment for short bowel syndrome, a potentially life-threatening chronic condition that prevents patients from absorbing nutrients from food. People with short bowel syndrome are prone to malnutrition, diarrhea and dehydration. It is a pill taken once a day and it is intended to reduce the need for intravenous nutrition in adult patients.

The Bedminster, N.J., company says it believes there are 3,000 to 5,000 adult patients in the U.S., and it has a goal of getting 200 to 300 on the treatment by the end of 2013. NPS also wants to get the drug approved for pediatric patients.

Shares of NPS rose 39 cents, or 3 percent, to close at $13.92. Earlier the stock reached a seven-year high of $14.77.

The company reported a loss of $7.8 million, or 9 cents per share. A year ago it took a loss of $10.6 million, or 12 cents per share. Revenue grew 11 percent, to $25.4 million from $22.9 million.

Analysts were forecasting a loss of 13 cents per share and $27.6 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Regulators in the U.S. and Europe approved Gattex in 2012. NPS regained the overseas marketing rights to the drug in March under a deal with Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., and it said it is working on its European launch strategy for the drug.

In Europe Gattex is approved under the name Revestive.

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