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NPS Pharma's Natpara Looks Promising

Zacks Equity Research

Natpara (rhPTH [1-84]) is the most interesting candidate in NPS Pharma’s (NPSP) pipeline. The candidate has been developed for the treatment of hypoparathyroidism. Hypoparathyroidism refers to a rare endocrine disorder which results in the human body producing inadequate levels of parathyroid hormone.

NPS Pharma made a significant move in its attempt to bring Natpara, a replacement therapy, to the market by submitting a Biologic License Application (:BLA) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (:FDA). Approval of Natpara by the FDA for the hypoparathyroidism would be highly welcomed by hypoparathyroidism patients since the disease currently does not nave any FDA approved replacement therapy.

Patients suffering from the disorder are currently treated with large doses of calcium supplementation and active vitamin D therapy. This helps to raise the levels of calcium in the blood while bringing down the severity of symptoms. However, this type of therapy has attendant risks like calcifications in the kidneys, arteries or brain. Apart from Natpara, NPS Pharma’s pipeline includes early-stage candidates like NPSP795. The candidate, a calcilytic compound, is being developed to treat rare deficiencies involving increased calcium receptor activity.

Gattex is NPS Pharma’s sole marketed product. NPS Pharma launched Gattex in the U.S. in Feb 2013, following approval by the FDA in Dec 2012. The drug was cleared for treating adults with short bowel syndrome, dependent on parenteral support. The drug was cleared in the EU in 2012 (European trade name: Revestive). The company expects to launch the drug in the EU in the first half of 2014.

NPS Pharma carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Companies such as Actelion Ltd. (ALIOF), AMAG Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (AMAG) and Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ISIS)   appear to be more attractive, each with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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