Why Furiex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Shares Furiously Doubled

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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 Furiex Pharmaceuticals (UNKNOWN: FURX.DX  ) , a biopharmaceutical company developing drugs to treat a myriad of problems including irritable bowel syndrome, acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections, and type 2 diabetes, more than doubled, gaining as much as 165%, after reporting positive results from its two late-stage studies of eluxadoline for patients with diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome.

So what: According to the company's press release, top-line results from its two studies demonstrated that eluxadoline met the primary endpoints agreed upon by the Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency of simultaneous improvements in stool consistency and abdominal pain. Stool consistency improved across its two studies by 30% to 37% compared to just 20% to 22% for the placebo, although one of its 75 mg studies failed to meet statistical significance. Eluxadoline was also well-tolerated in trials, and Furiex plans to file a new drug application with the FDA in the second quarter. Research firm Ladenburg Thalmann also boosted its price target to $137 from $58 on the news.

Now what: "Wow" is all I can say after the run we've witnessed in Furiex today! The peak sales potential of eluxadoline according to Canaccord Genuity is $745 million, so today's move higher does actually value Furiex appropriately... if the drug were without question approved and Furiex was partnered with a leading pharmaceutical company. However, there are a lot of variables left to play out here, including the FDA's ultimate decision on eluxadoline and how successfully Furiex can market its drug compared to existing treatments. I'm not in any way saying Furiex doesn't deserve to be up big today, but this move may wind up being a bit excessive when all is said and done.

Furiex's move higher is astounding -- but even it may struggle to keep pace with this top stock in 2014
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Sean Williams

A Fool since 2010, and a graduate from UC San Diego with a B.A. in Economics, Sean specializes in the healthcare sector and in investment planning topics. You'll usually find him writing about Obamacare, marijuana, developing drugs, diagnostics, and medical devices, Social Security, taxes, or any number of other macroeconomic issues.

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