Zealand Pharma shares surge on liver disease drug trial data

By Thomson Reuters Feb 26, 2024 | 3:18 AM

By Ludwig Burger

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Zealand Pharma shares jumped 20% after an experimental obesity treatment it is developing with Boehringer Ingelheim yielded “groundbreaking” Phase II trial results in the treatment of fatty liver.

The trial testing the drug survodutide to treat the liver disease metabolic dysfunction-associated steatohepatitis, or MASH, met its primary and key secondary endpoints, Boehringer said in a statement.

At 0842 GMT, Zealand shares hit a record high and were the best performer on the STOXX Europe 600.

Part of an industry race to challenge obesity treatment market leaders Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly over the next few years, Zealand and unlisted Boehringer in June 2023 reported promising phase 2 weigh-loss trial results, with the largest and most expensive final stage of testing still to be cleared.

The liver condition that Germany’s family-owned Boehringer and Denmark’s Zealand seek to treat with their drug used to be called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and it is targeted by several other drugmakers as additional uses for their new obesity drugs.

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; editing by David Goodman and Jason Neely)