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Amarin Corporation Plc's Rocky Road

By Brian Orelli, PhD – Feb 14, 2014 at 3:17PM

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A video discussing Amarin's issues, compounded by competition from GlaxoSmithKline and issues over trails run on drugs from Merck and AbbVie.

Amarin (AMRN) has been a roller coaster of a stock since the launch of its fish oil drug Vascepa. The drug competes with GlaxoSmithKline's fish oil Lovaza, but while Glaxo's drug is often used off label in patients with moderately high triglyceride levels, Amarin hasn't made much in roads into that population.

To get the drug approved for the expanded indication, the biotech signed a special protocol assessment with the Food and Drug Administration, agreeing to run an efficacy study with a surrogate endpoint -- lowering triglyceride levels -- and to substantially enroll an outcomes study measuring cardiac events, such as heart attacks and strokes.

Despite Amarin living up to its end of the bargain -- Vascepa looked even better that GlaxoSmithKline's Lovaza in terms of triglyceride and cholesterol levels -- the FDA decided it really wanted to see the outcomes data, citing data from trials testing Merck's (MRK 0.64%) Cordaptive and AbbVie's Tricor, triglyceride-lowering drugs that work under a different mechanism of action. Both Merck's and AbbVie's drugs lowered triglyceride levels, but failed to improve outcomes.

In the video that follows, Max Macaluso, the Fool's health care bureau chief, and Fool contributor Brian Orelli discuss the biotech's latest predicament.

Brian OrelliMax Macaluso, and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not 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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