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Transition shares soar on positive diabetes drug results

(Reuters) - Transition Therapeutics Inc said an early-stage study of its experimental drug for type 2 diabetes showed significant improvement in blood sugar control and reduction in body weight, sending its shares up as much as 71 percent.

Patients treated with the experimental drug experienced statistically significant reductions in mean fasting blood glucose and mean body weight in the three highest dose groups, the company said.

"These data support a clear development path forward to a larger Phase 2 efficacy study of TT-401," said Aleksandra Pastrak, vice president, clinical development and medical officer of Transition.

Shares of Transition Therapeutics, whose other products include a treatment for Alzheimer's disease, touched a high of C$3.72 on Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The company's Nasdaq-listed shares rose as much as 71 percent to $3.83.

Transition entered into a licensing and collaboration agreement with Eli Lilly and Co in March 2010, where it acquired the rights to a series of pre-clinical compounds from Lilly, including TT-401, for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Transition said the drug was tested in five doses on diabetic patients and in one dose on non-diabetic obese patients.

A once-weekly administered dose of the drug showed acceptable safety and tolerability levels for all doses, the company said.

The most common adverse event noted in the study was decreased appetite. Some patients in the highest three dose groups experienced mild nausea and vomiting, which the company said are consistent with studies of other similar drugs.

Diabetic patients were on stable doses of metformin, a widely used diabetes drug, the company said.

(Reporting by Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay in Bangalore; Editing by Roshni Menon, Sreejiraj Eluvangal)

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