Why Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Shares Imploded

Intercept Pharmaceuticals dives $129 following comments from its CEO.

Jan 14, 2014 at 2:05PM

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Intercept Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ICPT), a biopharmaceutical company developing therapies to treat chronic liver diseases, fell as much as 36%, or $129 per share – it's fourth consecutive intraday move of at least $129 -- following comments made by its CEO called into question the future of its lead drug, obeticholic acid (OCA) for nonalcoholic steathohepatitis (NASH).

So what: Following Intercept's presentation at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference yesterday, CEO Mark Pruzanski noted that his company may need the assistance of a larger drug maker (i.e., a partner) to help bring OCA to market. This only further complicates what has been a boom-and-bust past week for Intercept which exploded higher by more than 500% at the end of last week following the stoppage of a mid-stage trial for OCA on statistically significant efficacy. Intercept, however, has been slowed by a flat tire this week as cholesterol levels in those patients, specifically the bad kind, saw a marked increase and will need further investigating.

Now what: And I thought the five-day chart made me dizzy yesterday -- you should see it now! There are really a handful of variables at play here includes the safety of OCA as it relates to the increase in lipid levels, the efficacy as it relates to a largely unmet disease that could affect between 5 million and 6 million people in the U.S., and Intercept's need to have a larger pharmaceutical partner share development costs as well as handle an eventual commercial rollout if the drug is approved. In other words, with the share price having moved a minimum of $129 in each of the past four days, your best course of action is likely to stick to the sidelines and to let things settle down first.

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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