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Ahead of the Bell: Sucampo Pharma shares jump

The Associated Press

Shares of Sucampo Pharmaceuticals continued climbing Wednesday morning, a day after the drug developer said regulators will conduct a faster review of its drug Amitiza as a possible treatment for constipation caused by opioid pain drugs.

The Bethesda, Md., company said Tuesday the Food and Drug Administration has granted a priority review for the proposed additional use in patients with chronic pain not caused by cancer. Amitiza is already approved to treat chronic constipation that is not caused by other diseases or medications.

The FDA aims to complete priority review in six months instead of the usual 10 months. It conducts these reviews for drugs that treat a condition or illness with no treatment options or drugs that represent a significant advance in treatment.

Sucampo and its development partner, Japanese drugmaker Takeda Pharmaceutical, say they expect an FDA decision by late January.

Shares of Sucampo Pharmaceuticals Inc. started climbing Tuesday in after-hours trading. The stock then advanced 13 percent, or 60 cents, to $5.13 Wednesday before markets opened.