- Associated Press - Thursday, January 8, 2015

Shares of Neurocrine Biosciences surged Thursday after drug development partner AbbVie said their potential treatment for endometriosis-related pain fared well in late-stage research.

AbbVie said early results from the first of two phase three studies of the drug showed that doses of elagolix met the study’s main goals of reducing non-menstrual pelvic pain and menstrual pain in patients with endometriosis.

Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue that normally lines the inside of a woman’s uterus grows outside the uterus and can be found on the ovaries. It can trigger debilitating pain and cause infertility.

AbbVie studied the drug in patients ages 18 to 49 with moderate-to-severe endometriosis-related pain. Common side effects from the treatment included headaches, nausea and fatigue.

Results from a second, late-stage study also are expected later this year. Late-stage research is usually the final phase before a drugmaker seeks regulatory approval.

Elagolix also is being studied as a possible treatment for uterine fibroids, or benign growths in the uterus.

San Diego-based Neurocrine Biosciences Inc. has no drugs on the market. It discovered and developed elagolix and took it through initial clinical testing before partnering with bigger drugmaker AbbVie a few years ago. Neurocrine received $75 million up front and may also receive milestone and royalty payments tied to the drug, for which AbbVie now has worldwide sales rights.

North Chicago, Illinois-based AbbVie Inc.’s portfolio of drugs includes the blockbuster anti-inflammatory treatment Humira.

Shares of Neurocrine jumped 19 percent, or $4.14, to $26.02 in late morning trading Thursday. AbbVie climbed 1.4 percent, or 96 cents, to $67.89, a slightly bigger advance than broader trading indexes.

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