HomeMarket NewsIntercept's Failed NASH Drug Leads to Alfasigma Acquisition

Intercept’s Failed NASH Drug Leads to Alfasigma Acquisition

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Liver damage such as Fatty liver, Fibrosis, Cirrhosis, and Liver cancer. 3d illustration

Image: Mohammed Haneefa Nizamudeen

Following the unsuccessful clinical trial of Intercept Pharmaceuticals’ (ICPT) drug, Ocaliva (obeticolic acid), for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in June, the company found itself in a position that necessitated acquisition. With no other late-stage candidates in its pipeline and a significant drop in its share price, Intercept (NASDAQ:ICPT) was left with few options.

While Ocaliva had received approval for the treatment of primary biliary cholangitis, the market for this indication is relatively small compared to NASH. GlobalData predicts that major markets will have a total of 600,000 cases of primary biliary cholangitis in 2027.

On the other hand, GlobalData estimates that the NASH market is projected to exceed $25 billion by 2029. β€œAs a result, Intercept’s future was reliant on its potential in NASH,” explained GlobalData Pharma Analyst Jay Patel.

According to Patel, Intercept’s failure to establish itself as a leader in the NASH market hindered its growth as a pharmaceutical company. The setback with Ocaliva caused a sharp decline in the company’s stock price, making it difficult to fund other programs.

Patel noted that Intercept’s pipeline, including INT-787, a Phase IIa asset for severe alcohol-associated hepatitis, is in line with Alfasigma’s focus on metabolic and gastroenterological diseases.

Additionally, Alfasigma is well-established in the Italian pharmaceutical market with products like Xifaxan (rifaximin), used to reduce the risk of overt hepatic encephalopathy, and Carnitene (L-carnitine), indicated for carnitine deficiency in patients with end stage renal disease.

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