Intercept Announces That FDA Grants Fast Track Designation to Obeticholic Acid for the Treatment of Patients With Primary Biliary Cirrhosis

In Press Release by Cameron


May 29, 2014

Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, announced that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Fast Track designation to obeticholic acid (OCA) for the treatment of patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC). OCA is being developed to treat PBC patients with an inadequate therapeutic response to, or who are unable to tolerate, ursodiol, the only drug currently approved to treat the disease. Intercept intends to complete its New Drug Application (NDA) of OCA for PBC in the first half of 2015. The NDA will include data from the Phase 3 POISE trial and two randomized Phase 2 trials, all of which met their primary endpoints with high statistical significance.

Established under the FDA Modernization Act of 1997, the Fast Track program is designed to facilitate the development and review of drugs intended to treat serious conditions and fill an unmet medical need. A drug development program with Fast Track designation is afforded greater access to FDA for the purpose of expediting the drug’s development, review and potential approval.

“We believe that the award of Fast Track designation represents important recognition by FDA of OCA’s potential to address a significant unmet need in the treatment of PBC patients,” stated Mark Pruzanski, M.D., Intercept’s Chief Executive Officer. “We will continue to work closely with the FDA with the goal of bringing OCA to PBC patients as quickly as possible,” he added.

About Intercept

Intercept is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of novel therapeutics to treat orphan and more prevalent liver and intestinal diseases utilizing its expertise in bile acid chemistry. The company’s lead product candidate, obeticholic acid (OCA), is a bile acid analog and first-in-class agonist of the farnesoid X receptor (FXR). OCA is being developed for a variety of chronic liver diseases and patient populations including primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), cirrhosis, portal hypertension, alcoholic hepatitis, primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) and bile acid diarrhea. OCA has met the primary efficacy endpoint in five placebo-controlled clinical trials, including the recently completed POISE Phase 3 clinical trial in patients with PBC and two Phase 2 clinical trials in NASH and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. OCA has received orphan drug designation in both the United States and Europe for the treatment of PBC and PSC. Intercept owns worldwide rights to OCA outside of Japan and China, where it has out-licensed the product candidate to Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma. For more information about Intercept, please visit the Company’s website at:

About Primary Biliary Cirrhosis

PBC is an autoimmune liver disease that may progress to cirrhosis and liver failure, and it is currently the fifth leading indication for liver transplant in the United States. It is primarily a disease of women, afflicting approximately one in 1,000 women over the age of 40. Clinically, the progress of the disease is assessed by measuring the blood levels of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and bilirubin, which have been shown to correlate with risk of adverse outcomes. Ursodiol is the only approved drug treatment for PBC and studies have shown that up to 50% of PBC patients fail to respond adequately, thereby remaining at risk of adverse outcomes.