San Fernando Valley Business Journal

Kythera Chief Rings Nasdaq Bell

By Kelly Goff Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Keith Leonard, the chief executive of Kythera Biopharmaceuticals Inc., rang the Nasdaq opening bell Wednesday in New York, as the company announced positive results from clinical trials of its leading drug candidate.

The Calabasas company went public Oct. 11 in a successful initial public offering that raised more than $70 million to fund continued research of the drug, which dissolves fat and reduces double chins.

Shares debuted more than $2 above analyst IPO estimates, closing at $18.49 on their first day of trading. They have continued to trend upward, and closed Wednesday at $23.73, after losing 41 cents, or more than 2 percent for the day.

The firm seized on the publicity surrounding the bell ritual to announce positive interim study results of the drug, ATX-101, which is a synthesized form of human bile – the substance that breaks down fat in human digestion – and is injected into the chin. The company said the drug appears to be effective and safe.

“These findings add to our robust clinical database of over 1,500 subjects treated with ATX-101 in our clinical development program for the reduction of submental fat,” said Patricia S. Walker, Kythera’s chief medical officer, in a statement.

The study has 165 patients enrolled in 21 dermatology and plastic surgery centers across the country. The interim results were from patients that have completed nine visits. Kythera expects the study to be completed by the middle of next year.