Intercept Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ICPT) shares more than tripled to $275.87 from $72.39, after touching a high of $305, on Jan. 9, and a day later touched an all-time high of $497. Since then they've fallen closer to earth though they still remain in the stratosphere at around $173.
What accounted for the rise last January was investor reaction to the results of Intercept's trial of obeticholic acid, or OCA, as a possible treatment for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, a fatal liver disease that currently is treated by a liver transplant.
The trial had been sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, a part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK halted the trial after its primary endpoint had been met.
Intercept co-founder and CEO Mark Pruzanski said at the time that the decision to stop the trial due to OCA "meeting the primary endpoint with such high significance is a major milestone."
He noted that nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, "has grown to epidemic proportions worldwide" and had become a leading cause of cirrhosis and liver failure.
New York-based Intercept went public in a $75 million initial public offering in 2012, underwritten by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Needham & Co. LLC, BMO Capital Markets Corp. and Wedbush Securities.
On Thursday, Intercept reported a third-quarter loss of $35.8 million, or $1.69 a share, on revenue of $445,000.
The loss was larger than the average estimate of $1.10 a share in a survey of five analysts by Zacks Investment Research.