ANN ARBOR, Mich., April 13, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Esperion (NASDAQ:ESPR), the Lipid Management Company focused on developing and commercializing complementary, convenient, cost-effective, once-daily, oral therapies for the treatment of patients with elevated low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), today announced that, on April 9, 2018, the Compensation Committee of Esperion's Board of Directors granted two new employees (i) non-qualified stock options to purchase an aggregate of 160,000 shares of its common stock, including a grant to purchase 135,000 shares of common stock granted to Mark A. Glickman, the Company's newly appointed Chief Commercial Officer, and (ii) 20,000 restricted stock units (RSUs), all of which were awarded to Mr. Glickman, under Esperion's 2017 Inducement Equity Incentive Plan.
The 2017 Inducement Equity Incentive Plan is used exclusively for the grant of equity awards to individuals who were not previously an employee or non-employee director of Esperion (or following a bona fide period of non-employment), as an inducement material to such individual's entering into employment with Esperion, pursuant to Rule 5635(c)(4) of the NASDAQ Listing Rules.
The options have an exercise price of $67.29 per share, which is equal to the closing price of Esperion's common stock on April 9, 2018. Each option and RSU will vest and become exercisable as to twenty-five percent of the shares on the one year anniversary of the recipient's start date, and will vest and become exercisable as to the remaining 75 percent of the shares in twelve equal quarterly installments at the end of each quarter following the anniversary, in each case, subject to each such employee's continued employment with Esperion on such vesting dates. The options and RSUs are subject to the terms and conditions of Esperion's 2017 Inducement Equity Incentive Plan, and the terms and conditions of a stock option agreement covering the grant.
Bempedoic Acid / Ezetimibe Combination Pill
Through the complementary mechanisms of action of inhibition of cholesterol synthesis (bempedoic acid) and inhibition of cholesterol absorption (ezetimibe), the bempedoic acid / ezetimibe combination pill is our lead, non-statin, orally available, once-daily, LDL-C lowering therapy. Inhibition of ATP Citrate Lyase (ACL) by bempedoic acid reduces cholesterol biosynthesis and lowers LDL-C by up-regulating the LDL receptor. Inhibition of Niemann-Pick C1-Like 1 (NPC1L1) by ezetimibe results in reduced absorption of cholesterol from the gastrointestinal tract, thereby reducing delivery of cholesterol to the liver, which in turn upregulates the LDL receptors. Previously completed Phase 2 data demonstrated that this safe and well tolerated combination results in a 48 percent lowering of LDL-C, and a 26 percent reduction in high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP).
With a targeted mechanism of action, bempedoic acid is a first-in-class, complementary, orally available, once-daily ACL inhibitor that reduces cholesterol biosynthesis and lowers LDL-C by up-regulating the LDL receptor. Similar to statins, bempedoic acid also reduces hsCRP, a key marker of inflammation associated with cardiovascular disease. Completed Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3 studies conducted in approximately 1,600 patients, and close to 1,000 patients treated with bempedoic acid, have produced LDL-C lowering results of up to 30 percent as monotherapy and an incremental 20+ percent when added to stable statin therapy. The effect of bempedoic acid on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality has not yet been determined.
Esperion's Commitment to Patients with Hypercholesterolemia
High levels of LDL-C can lead to a build-up of fat and cholesterol in and on artery walls (known as atherosclerosis), potentially leading to cardiovascular events, including heart attack or stroke. In the United States, 78 million people, or more than 20 percent of the population, have elevated LDL-C; an additional 73 million people in Europe and 30 million people in Japan also live with elevated LDL-C. There are approximately 13 million people in the U.S. with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) who live with elevated levels of LDL-C despite taking maximally-tolerated lipid-modifying therapy — including individuals considered statin intolerant — leaving them at high risk for cardiovascular events. The vast majority of these patients, 9.5 million, require less than 30 percent additional LDL-C lowering to achieve treatment goals.
Esperion's mission as the Lipid Management Company is to deliver once-daily, oral therapies that complement existing oral drugs to provide the additional LDL-C lowering that these patients need.
The Lipid Management Company
Esperion is the Lipid Management Company passionately committed to developing and commercializing complementary, convenient, cost-effective, once-daily, oral therapies for the treatment of patients with elevated LDL-C. Through scientific and clinical excellence, and a deep understanding of cholesterol biology, the experienced lipid management team at Esperion is committed to developing new LDL-C lowering therapies that will make a substantial impact on reducing global cardiovascular disease; the leading cause of death around the world. Bempedoic acid and the company's lead product candidate, the bempedoic acid / ezetimibe combination pill, are targeted therapies that have been shown to significantly reduce elevated LDL-C levels in patients with hypercholesterolemia, including patients inadequately treated with current lipid-modifying therapies. For more information, please visit www.esperion.com and follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/EsperionInc.