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Furiex Shares Double on Irritable Bowel Drug Success

Furiex Pharmaceuticals Inc. more than doubled in its best day of trading after its experimental drug alleviated diarrhea and abdominal pain caused by irritable bowel syndrome in two studies.

Furiex surged to close at $105.69 in New York, its highest value since the Morrisville, North Carolina-based company’s shares began trading in June 2010. The studies were in the last of three rounds generally needed for regulatory clearance.

The drug eluxadoline met targets for improvements in stool consistency and abdominal pain that were developed in conjunction with U.S. and European regulators, the company said today. Furiex will apply for approval in June, Chairman Fred Eshelman said in an investor call today. He estimated annual sales of $750 million to $1 billion.

“By our math, it looks like a pretty doggone good market,” Eshelman said on the call, noting that there is only one currently approved drug available in the U.S. for the condition.

Diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic disorder that affects about 28 million patients in the U.S. and Europe, Furiex said in the statement.

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