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InterMune Rises on Lung Drug Study

A phase II trial ends early after results look promising.

InterMune

(ITMN)

shares shot up in after-hours trading Monday on news that trial results showed that its experimental drug successfully delayed the progression of an inflammatory lung disease.

Shares were up 42 cents, or 4%, to $11 in after-hours trading.

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A planned 12-month phase II trial was terminated after nine months when it found that the drug pirfenidone successfully reduced acute exacerbations of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in 107 patients. Following an interim analysis, the Data Safety Monitoring Board recommended termination of the trial. The study was conducted by Japan's Shionogi & Co.

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a disease characterized by abnormal formation of lung tissue, causing coughing and shallow breathing after moderate exercise due to a lack of oxygen intake from the lungs. There are currently no drugs approved by the FDA for the treatment of IPF.

During an exercise test, IDP exacerbations occurred in 14% of patients receiving a placebo, and in none of the patients who received the drug. In the nine months of treatment, all 107 patients required hospitalization and one patient died.

"This study suggests that treatment with pirfenidone may prevent acute exacerbation of IPF and reduce the rate of decline in vital capacity," said Dan Welch, InterMune's president and CEO.