May 31, 2018 / 11:31 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Madrigal Pharma's liver disease drug succeeds in study, shares soar

(Adds details, share movement)

May 31 (Reuters) - Madrigal Pharmaceuticals Inc said on Thursday its lead experimental drug achieved the main goal of reducing liver fat in patients with a type of liver disease in a mid-stage study, sending its shares surging 40 percent in premarket trading.

After 36 weeks on the oral drug, MGL-3196, patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) showed statistically significant drop in liver fat.

The results backed data released in December last year from the same trial, where patients on the drug showed a reduction in liver fat after 12 weeks of treatment.

The company said on Thursday results indicate a "high likelihood of success" in a larger trial with longer treatment period.

There are currently no FDA-approved treatments for NASH, which is characterized by a build-up of fat in the liver, inflammation and damaged liver cells.

Shares of the drug developer were trading at $151.51 premarket.

Reporting by Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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