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Pipeline updates are highly awaited events in the pharma/biotech sector as they play an important role in deciding whether or not to invest in a particular company. These updates provide information on experimental drugs and at times provide an insight into the commercial potential of the candidate once it is successfully developed and commercialized.

Last week, Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ICPT - Snapshot Report), a biopharmaceutical company, announced that it will be providing an update on its pipeline on Jan 9, 2014. The update will primarily focus on the phase III POISE study on its lead candidate, obeticholic acid. The update will also include top-line results from the OBADIAH and PESTO studies.

Intercept Pharma is developing obeticholic acid for the treatment of primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC). Intercept Pharma is currently expecting results from the POISE study in the second quarter of 2014. Patients completing twelve months of treatment with obeticholic acid are eligible to participate in an open label safety extension study for another five years.

We note that Intercept Pharma is also developing obeticholic acid for the treatment of chronic liver and other diseases. Intercept Pharma is developing the candidate for the treatment of primary bile acid diarrhoea (PBAD) in the phase IIa OBADIAH study. The study is evaluating whether obeticholic acid can stimulate the release of FGF19 in patients suffering from PBAD. Meanwhile, the phase IIa PESTO study is evaluating obeticholic acid in patients suffering from portal hypertension.

Apart from obeticholic acid, Intercept Pharma also has INT-767 (chronic kidney diseases) and INT-777 (type II diabetes and associated metabolic disorders) in its pipeline. We expect investor focus to remain on the company’s pipeline going forward.

Intercept Pharma currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Some better-ranked stocks include Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ - Analyst Report), Lannett Company, Inc. (LCI - Snapshot Report) and Forest Laboratories Inc. . All the stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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