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La Jolla Pharmaceuticals (LJPC) - Get La Jolla Pharmaceutical Company Report said Monday that significantly more shock patients with critically low blood pressure responded to treatment with its experimental drug LJPC-501 compared to placebo, achieving the main goal of a phase III clinical trial.

The company intends to submit a marketing application for LJPC-501 to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the second half of the year, pending the outcome of a meeting with regulators to discuss the study results.

La Jolla's stock price rose 38% to $27.50 in Monday pre-marketing trading. The stock closed Friday at $19.87.

LJPC-501 is a proprietary formulation of a protein that helps to regulate blood pressure. The drug is being developed as a new treatment for patients in distributive shock, a life-threatening, low-blood pressure condition in which the heart is functioning normally but blood does not flow to vital organs.

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In the phase III study, 70% of distributive shock patients treated with LJPC-501 on top of standard blood pressure medicines achieved a pre-specified target blood pressure increase compared to 23% of patients treated with a placebo plus standard of care. The benefit of LJPC-501 was statistically significant.

LJPC-501 did not help patients live longer than placebo by a statistically significant margin in the study, although prolonged survival did trend in the drug's direction with a 22% reduction in the risk of mortality.

La Jolla disclosed nothing in Monday's announcement about another important, secondary efficacy endpoint of the study -- a comparison between LJPC-501 and placebo in the ability to reduce organ failure.

On safety, 87% of LJPC-501 patients experienced at least one adverse event compared to 92% of placebo patients. More placebo patients dropped out of the study due to an adverse event compared to LJPC-501, the company said.

Prior to Monday's study results, Jefferies analyst Eun Yang forecast peak LJPC-501 sales of $260-520 million, which was depending on a wide range of pricing scenarios tied to the drug's overall benefit.

Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.