The FDA turned back a second application earlier this year, as Ocaliva’s only modest benefit was balanced against signs of liver damage experienced by some trial participants given the drug. Following that rejection, Intercept canceled all work in NASH, claiming it wasn’t economically feasible to collect the data asked for by the FDA, and laid off staff.

Meanwhile, competition in Intercept’s established market of PBC may be emerging, as CymaBay’s seladelpar and Genfit’s elafibranor near key milestones.

Raymond James analyst Steven Seedhouse described the transaction as a “great return” for Intercept investors.

“Given our bullish view of seladelpar and its ability to take market share in PBC beginning as early as late 2024, it isn’t clear to us if [Ocaliva] will even generate that much net profit in the next ~10 years,” Seedhouse wrote in a note to clients.