Lexicon Pharma rises on new tumor drug data

NEW YORK -- Shares of Lexicon Pharmaceuticals Inc. rose Friday after the company reported new clinical study data for its potential drug telotristat, which treats a condition caused by tumors in the gastrointestinal tract.

Telotristat is a treatment for the symptoms of carcinoid syndrome, an illness that causes severe diarrhea and can lead to malnutrition, heart disease, and death. Lexicon said patients who took the drug had a significant reduction in bowel movements over the course of the trial and they also reported an improvement in symptoms. The small study had 15 patients.

Lexicon shares gained 12 cents, or 5 percent, to $2.51 in morning trading. The company, based in The Woodlands, Texas, does not yet have any approved drugs. Its shares have nearly doubled this year.

Telotristat has received orphan drug status from the Food and Drug Administration, which means that if the drug is approved, the FDA won't approve similar products for seven years. Orphan drug status is awarded to drugs that treat rare conditions. The product also has fast-track status, which allows Lexicon to have more frequent interactions with regulators and opens the possibility of a six-month priority review.

European Union regulators have also awarded orphan drug status to telotristat.