Shares of Salix Pharmaceuticals jumped 50 percent in early trading today after the Raleigh-based company announced positive results of two tests involving one of its stomach ailment drugs.
Salix reported before the markets opened today that its drug rifaximin showed "statistically significant improvement" compared to placebo in the treatment of non-constipation irritable bowel syndrome in two Phase 3 trials involving 600 patients.
Salix shares, which closed Friday at $13.38, were fetching $20.20 in early trading today. Shares were trading at $6.15 in March.
Bill Forbes, senior vice president and chief development officer, said in a statement that the company was "extremely pleased with the outcome of our pivotal Phase 3 trials."
Salix already sells rifaximin under the brand name Xifaxin for the treatment of travelers' diarrhea. Xifaxan was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in May 2004 and has been used to treat travelers' diarrhea around the world for decades. Salix acquired the North American rights to rifaximin from an Italian pharmaceutical company.
Last week Saix received regulatory approval for a new drug, Metozolv ODT, to treat diabetic gastroparesis, a stomach ailment that afflicts about 5 million diabetics. Metozolv also can treat gastroesophageal reflux diease, or GERD, a more serious form of acid reflux.