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Conatus Reports Promising Phase II Data on Emricasan

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Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc.CNAT announced encouraging data from an exploratory phase II portal hypertension study on its lead candidate, emricasan. In the study it was observed that emricasan significantly lowered portal pressure in patients with severe portal hypertension. We expect investors to react positively to the news.

The open-label phase II study evaluated the use of emricasan in patients with portal hypertension and compensated liver cirrhosis that was predominantly due to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis or hepatitis C virus (HCV), including patients with active HCV infection and patients who had a sustained viral response to antiviral therapy.

The study met the endpoints of showing a clinically meaningful and statistically significant change from baseline in hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG), a measurement of pressure in the portal vein, in patients with liver cirrhosis and severe portal hypertension (HVPG ≥12 mmHg). Additionally, a statistically significant change from baseline in cleaved Cytokeratin 18 (cCK18, a mechanism-specific biomarker of excessive cell death that contributes to chronic inflammation) in the total evaluable liver cirrhosis patient population was also observed.

However, the changes from baseline HVPG were not statistically significant in the total evaluable patient population and in the lower baseline HVPG group.

Conatus is conducting two other phase II studies on emricasan - liver cirrhosis (initial data from the first stage are expected in the fourth quarter of 2015) and POLT-HCV-SVR (post-orthotopic liver transplant (POLT) recipients with liver fibrosis or cirrhosis post-transplant as a result of recurrent HCV infection who have successfully achieved a sustained viral response (SVR) following HCV antiviral therapy, final top-line data should mature in the first half of 2018).

Conatus currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the health care sector include Gilead Sciences Inc. GILD , Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. REGN and Infinity Pharmaceuticals, Inc. INFI . Both Gilead and Regeneron hold a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), while Infinity Pharma is a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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