Shares of Samil Pharmaceutical spiked on Thursday on investors’ anticipation of its experimental treatment for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a type of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NASH causes inflammation and liver cell damage, as well as fat in the liver.
Samil’s stock price started off with 27,500 won ($24.8) in the morning and jumped 30 percent, a daily limit, to close at 35,750 won on Thursday, as rumors circulated that the NASH treatment Aramchol was near global phase-3 clinical trials.
Korea’s Samil and Israel’s Galmed Pharmaceuticals are jointly developing Aramchol. Industry watchers paid particular attention to the result of the phase-2b study in the U.S. disclosed in the first half.
High hopes for the investigational drug drove Samil shares to hit a daily rise limit of 30 percent seven times this year – on Feb. 2, Feb. 8, March 6, March 23, April 9, June 14, and Sept. 27.
“We have not fixed a timeline for the beginning of the phase-3 study. Samil Pharmaceutical will have the sales license in Asia, including Korea,” an official at Samil said.
According to Samil’s disclosure on June 14, Aramchol 600mg showed NASH resolution without the aggravation of liver fibrosis during the 52-week phase-2b study.
In patients treated with Aramchol 400mg for 52 weeks, the drug showed a statistically significant reduction in liver fat compared to placebo in magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS).
Aramchol 400mg and 600mg also showed a statistically meaningful decrease in the levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST), compared to placebo, the drugmaker said.
“Although the global NASH treatment market is estimated at $35 billion, there is no cure,” an analyst said. “We will have to watch whether Aramchol will successfully arrive in the market.”