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Esperion Therapeutics rises with pharma stock surge

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Ann Arbor-based Esperion Therapeutics is riding a wave of renewed enthusiasm for pharmaceutical stocks since the presidential election. Esperion is developing a cholesterol-lowering drug, bempedoic acid, that experts believe may be more effective and less expensive than drugs currently on the market. Bempedoic acid is in Phase III clinical trials and, if all goes well, is expected to hit the market as soon as 2019. 

Investors have been jittery about pharma stocks during the presidential campaign season due to Hillary Clinton's proposed policies for drug price regulation. With Donald Trump's surprise victory, pharma stocks surged on expectations that the Trump administration would be more congenial for drug pricing and higher profits. 

Esperion had gained more than 20 percent by the market close on Friday after the election, but those gains may not be long lasting. Unlike the larger pharmaceutical companies, Esperion has no products on the market, and investors would have to wait several years for returns.

"The drug is still relatively far out. We don't expect the drug to hit the market before 2019 or 2020 and right now investors are a little leery of stories that are that long before they'll actually generate revenues," says Thomas Shrader, an investment analyst with the firm Stifel Nicolaus.