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InterMune shares jump as Boehringer's rival drug shows mixed results

BANGALORE (Reuters) - Shares of InterMune Inc rose as much as 17 percent on Friday after data showed German drugmaker Boehringer Ingleheim's rival drug had mixed results in late-stage trials.

Data from two late-stage trials of Boehringer's nintedanib showed the drug improved patients' lung function, but one trial fell short of meeting its key secondary goals of improving overall health and delaying a disease flare up.

Nintedanib and InterMune's pirfenidone are aimed at treating idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) — an irreversible condition that leads to progressive loss of lung function due to scarring, which hinders a lung's ability to absorb oxygen.

InterMune recently completed a late-stage trial of pirfenidone, which showed that after a year of treatment 16.5 percent of patients taking the drug experienced disease progression, around half the level of those using a placebo.

Pirfenidone is already in use in Europe, Canada and Asia and is marketed as Esbriet.

"We believe based on both studies hitting their primary endpoints that nintedanib could very well be approved... we believe most patients will likely cycle through both drugs sequentially such that there could be a $1 billion opportunity for Esbriet even splitting the market," Wells Fargo Securities analyst Brian Abrahams wrote in a note.

Data from the two Boehringer trials was published on Friday, as part of an industry conference. (http://link.reuters.com/kew77v)

InterMune shares were up 11 percent at $36.42 in morning trade on the Nasdaq on Friday. They touched a high of $38.29 earlier in the session.

(Reporting by Esha Dey in Bangalore; Editing by Simon Jennings)

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