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Ventrus climbs on anal fissure drug studies

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Ventrus Biosciences jumped Wednesday after the company reported positive clinical trial results for a drug designed to treat anal fissure.

Ventrus said two of the trials evaluated the safety of diltiazem cream and the third studied how the drug behaves in a patient's body. The company reported positive results from a late-stage trial of diltiazem cream, or VEN 307, in May 2013 and is conducting another late-stage trial.

Ventrus Biosciences Inc. stock gained 79 cents, or 31 percent, to $3.37 in midday trading.

The cream is designed to treat pain caused by anal fissures, which are tears in the lining of the anal canal. Those tears can cause severe pain. Ventrus expects to report data from that study in the first quarter of 2014. If the trial is successful it plans to file for marketing approval in the second quarter. The company does not have any approved products.

VEN 307 is Ventrus' most advanced experimental drug. Diltiazem has long been used in pill form as a treatment for high blood pressure and angina. It is the active ingredient in drugs including Cardizem.

In June 2012 Ventrus said its then-lead drug, the hemorrhoid ointment ifanserin, did not work better than a placebo in two late-stage studies. The company's shares have lost almost 80 percent of their value since then.