Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline receives upbeat results in Promacta phase three study

Biotech company Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:LGND) reported Tuesday that its partner GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK, LON:GSK) received encouraging results from ENABLE-1 in a phase three study investigating Promacta in patients with hepatitis C thrombocytopenia.

“We are pleased with GlaxoSmithKline’s announcement today about the ENABLE-1 study and look forward to seeing the full results later this year,” said Ligand’s Chief Executive John Higgins in a statement.

Ligand, which competes with companies like Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE), said results will be released at an upcoming scientific conference. This is the first of two phase three studies examining Promacta, or eltrombopag, in patients with HCV thrombocytopenia.

Thrombocytopenia is a disorder in which there is an abnormally low amount of platelets. The cause of thrombocytopenia associated with HCV can stem from a damaged liver, bone marrow suppression, or increased platelet destruction from an autoimmune process.

The study plans to measure the ability of eltrombopag to raise sufficient platelet counts to facilitate the initiation of antiviral therapy and to allow sustained antiviral therapy in patients with HCV thrombocytopenia.

In November 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration accelerated approval for Eltrombopag under its trade name Promacta for the treatment of chronic immune thrombocytopenic purpura in adults who have had insufficient responses to corticosteroids, immunoglobulins or surgical removal of the spleen.

Additionally, Eltrombopag has been approved in the European Union, as well as India, Australia, Ireland, Japan, Taiwan, Turkey, Singapore, Kuwait, Chile, Russia and Bahrain under the trade name Revolade.

Ligand’s shares closed Monday at $12.40, while GlaxoSmithKline’s shares rose 2.72% to $45.38 during Tuesday pre-market trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

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