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Corcept Therapeutics slips following downgrade

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares in Corcept Therapeutics Inc. fell Monday after a Piper Jaffray analyst downgraded the stock, pointing to disappointing sales of its endocrine disorder drug Korlym.

THE SPARK: Analyst Charles Duncan lowered his rating to "Neutral "from "Overweight." Duncan said first-quarter sales of Korlym were less than half what he expected, and he now anticipates a slower launch and lesser peak sales of the drug: He thinks combined U.S. and European Union sales of the drug will rise to about $146 million in 2019, down from his previous estimate of about $292 million.

Duncan cut his price target on Corcept shares to $2 from $4.

THE BIG PICTURE: Corcept reported its first-quarter sales on Thursday and said Korlym sales totaled $1.7 million.

Korlym is the company's only marketed product. It was approved in February 2012 as a treatment for high blood sugar in patients with Cushing's syndrome. Cushing's syndrome occurs when tumors or another factor causes a person's body to produce too much of the hormone cortisol, and high blood sugar is one of its symptoms. It primarily affects women between the ages of 20 and 50, and Corcept said about 20,000 people in the U.S. have the disease.

The company is also studying Korlym as a treatment for other illnesses.

Duncan said he expected Corcept to report $3.6 million in quarterly sales, and said analysts had forecast $2.5 million in sales on average.

Shares of Corcept lost almost half their value in early November after the company reported disappointing third-quarter sales of Korlym. That was the drug's first full quarter on the market.

SHARE ACTION: Corcept stock dipped 8 cents, or 4.5 percent, to $1.69 in afternoon trading. Between Nov. 1 and Nov. 8, the stock dropped to $1.32 from $2.50. The shares have since recovered some of those losses and closed at $1.77 on Friday.