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Esperion shares halted on late-stage trial results

Esperion Therapeutics Inc. shares were halted in premarket trade on Wednesday on news of late-stage clinical trial results for the company’s cholesterol-lowering medication. The therapy, bempedoic acid, met its primary endpoint, Esperion said, lowering cholesterol by 23% at 12 weeks, compared with a 1% decline seen with the placebo. The drug was shown to lower cholesterol by 26% at 24 weeks, compared with a 2% decrease associated with the placebo. Safety issues, something investors are keeping a close eye on, appeared lower than in a previous clinical trial, at a rate of 64% compared with the placebo’s nearly 57%. Serious safety issues were seen at a rate of 6%, compared with the placebo’s 3.6%, and there were no patient deaths seen in the trial. Bempedoic acid is intended for high-risk patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, or artery-clogging fat deposits, who haven’t responded well enough to cholesterol-lowering drugs like statins. The latest results represent the third of five late-stage clinical trials for the drug with results expected this year. Other companies that have or are developing cholesterol-lowering medications include Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Sanofi , Amgen Inc. and Medicines Company . Esperion shares have plummeted nearly 50% over the last three months, compared with a 0.8% decline in the S&P 500 and a 1.9% drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average .

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