By Colin Kellaher 
 

Shares of Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc. (CNAT) lost more than half of their value in after-hours trading Thursday after the company said a phase 2b trial of emricasan missed its primary endpoint in patients with biopsy-confirmed nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, and liver fibrosis.

The San Diego biotechnology company said that while the drug didn't have the desired effect in earlier-stage NASH fibrosis patients, it warrants continued evaluation in more advanced-stage NASH cirrhosis patients.

Conatus said it expects to receive more data over the coming months and will review the results with Novartis AG (NVS) "to determine the most appropriate path forward."

Conatus in late 2016 inked an exclusive collaboration and license agreement with Novartis for the development and commercialization of emricasan. The deal included a $50 million upfront payment from Novartis.

Shares of Conatus, which closed Thursday at $2.91, plunged 52% to $1.39 in after-hours trading.

 

Write to Colin Kellaher at colin.kellaher@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 21, 2019 17:34 ET (21:34 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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