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Red flags aplenty are sprouting from the clinical trial results disclosed by Lipocine (LPCN) on Thursday.

Lipocine’s stock price rose by nearly half after the small biotech issued a press release touting “meaningful” reductions in liver fat demonstrated by its experimental pill in a clinical trial. The data don’t hold up to scrutiny.


Biotech companies large and small are racing to develop the first treatments for NASH, the commonly used acronym for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, a chronic disease in which fat accumulated in the liver. NASH is rightly viewed as a blockbuster commercial opportunity, and later this year, investors can expect to see readouts from large pivotal trials conducted by Intercept Pharma and Gilead Sciences. But Lipocine, based on Thursday’s study results, shouldn’t be viewed as a serious contender.

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