The Coolest Star Wars and Marvel Reveals From New York Toy Fair – Gizmodo

From Captain Marvel to The Phantom Menace, the hills are alive with the sound of your groaning wallets.
Photo: James Whitbrook/io9

Toys and CollectiblesAction figures, statues, exclusives, and other merchandise. Beware: if you look here, you’re probably going to spend some money afterwards.  

New York Toy Fair descended on the Javits Center this past weekend, bringing us a new look at all the spectacular new toys (and games!) just waiting to plunder our bank accounts over the next year. As always, the show was a great and financially ruinous time for fans of Star Wars and Marvel—here are a few of the favorites we spotted.


Star Wars

Bandai Model Kits

Bandai and U.S. distribution partner Bluefin were all in on Star Wars this year, with models covering everything from small-scale models of iconic ships and vehicles from the movies, larger model kits for Rebel fighters like B-Wing and X-Wing, and then model kits to make fully articulated action figures.

Movie Realization Figuarts

The East-meets-West melding of Samurai armor with Star Wars heroes and villains has been trucking along for the past few years, but also on display were some more additions from the sequel films—a First Order Stormtrooper, Captain Phasma, and also a very spiky Kylo Ren.

Lego Star Wars

Lego had already shown off its line of special sets celebrating the 20th anniversary of its Star Wars line—complete with exclusive minifigures harkening back to the original releases of Han, Luke, Leia, Darth Vader, and Lando—but also on display were two new ships from Star Wars Resistance: Major Vonreg’s red TIE Interceptor and Griff Halloran’s Black Ace.

Hasbro Black Series

A lot of the Black Series figures on display from Hasbro this year were figures already revealed, and just about to come out—everything from prequel characters like Mace Windu, Padmé, and a Battle Droid, Solo characters like Dryden Vos and Han in his Mudtrooper uniform, the long-awaited release of The Last Jedi’s Admiral Holdo, and even Rebels characters like Ezra and Chopper.

Coming later in the year however are three new additions from the world of Marvel Comics’ Star Wars creations: specifically, the galaxy’s favorite smuggler/archaeologist/former best buddy of Darth Vader, Doctor Aphra. Aphra will also be joined by 6-inch scaled versions of her killer droid companions, BT and Triple Zero.

Also later in the year for the recently-started “Archive” line of Black Series—which revive earlier figures from the line which are now harder to find with new paint detailing—there’ll also be releases of Empire Strikes Back Yoda, Revenge of the Sith Anakin, and a Scout Trooper.

Lastly, for the Black Series, 2019 also marks the 20th anniversary of the Prequel Saga, so to celebrate, Hasbro’s exclusive action figures for the upcoming Star Wars Celebration will be Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul as they appear in The Phantom Menace. For Celebration, they’ll have a few exclusive accessories as well as packaging that harkens back to the original Phantom Menace toy line. If you’re not heading to Celebration however, good news! Versions of the figures without the special packaging and a few of the accessories will release as part of a wave of figures later this year.

Retro Kenner Style Figures

The original Star Wars action figures might be some of the most iconic toys ever made. But if you were too young or missed out on the classic figures and don’t want to spend oodles of dollars collecting vintage toys, Hasbro is going to start re-making the original toy line for a special new series, complete with versions of the original packaging.

But interestingly, the line won’t just resurrect classic toys, but add in figures in a similar style for characters who were never part of the original line—like Grand Moff Tarkin, who will exclusively be found in a new board game called Death Star Escape that will form part of the line’s non-figure additions.

Hyperreal Action Figures

Black Series not fancy enough for you? Well good news for you, bad news for your wallet: Hasbro is now launching an even fancier line of Star Wars toys in an 8-inch scale, two inches larger than the typical Black Series toy. The “Hyperreal” line will use an internal articulated skeleton to avoid showing joints in the sculpts of character clothing, as well as include extra detailing, more alternate accessories, and display stands to really highlight them as presentation pieces. All that swank comes at a hefty cost though: Darth Vader, the first in the series, will set you back a whopping $80 when he launches later this year.

The Vintage Collection Figures and Playsets

The recently returned Vintage Collection line of 3.75″ hyperarticulated action figures was out in full force at Toy Fair this year, with looks at upcoming figures like Luke’s force-projection appearance from The Last Jedi, but the big focus was on both new figures and new Playsets that could build upon the ginormous Jabba’s Sail Barge scaled vehicle Hasbro announced and crowdfunded through its new HasLab platform last year.

Two new playsets and accompanying figures were revealed: a skiff to display alongside the Sail Barge (and in scale with it, to match), and a set based on the interior of Jabba’s palace. If you love Return of the Jedi, you’ll want to start saving your pennies now.

Hot Wheels Jar Jar Binks

Look. What do you want me to say about this beautiful, beautiful thing? It’s a Jar Jar Car Car. I love it. The best thing I saw at Toy Fair.


Marvel

Marvel 80th Anniversary Collection

2019 is a big year for nerdy anniversaries, as we’ve already discussed, but it’s a huge one for Marvel Comics too—80 years since the publisher first started, originally as Timely Comics. To celebrate, Hasbro’s Legends line of action figure is releasing a range of standalone figures and two-packs that encompass takes on characters from the comics—like first-appearance versions of Wolverine, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, and the Hulk—to figures based on the movies, like Thor: Ragnarok’s Grandmaster and Korg, and a two pack of Steve Rogers and—at long last—Peggy Carter from Captain America: The First Avenger.

Marvel Legends

Although there could be no figures tying into Avengers: Endgame on display just yet, the Marvel Legends line still had a few more movie-based offerings to reveal, like Black Panther’s Shuri and Infinity War’s Ebony Maw, who will be joined in Avengers-themed lines featuring comics characters like Beta Ray Bill and Living Laser, as well as eventually Endgame-themed toys when they’re revealed.

Meanwhile for Spider-Man: Far From Home a new wave of Spidey-themed figures will include both designs from the movies—like Peter’s updated, darker-colored suit and the “Stealth Suit” briefly glimpsed in the trailers—and throwbacks from the comics, like Hydro Man, as a nod to the film’s more outlandish interpretation of the character as a ginormous water elemental.

Elsewhere for Legends, Mutants are on the rise again, with another wave of figures dedicated to the X-World, culminating in a build-a-figure of infamous villain Mister Sinister. Meanwhile for nostalgia fans is a new series of throwback designs based on the old Uncanny X-Men toy line from the ‘90s, complete with retro packaging.

Ant-Man Light Up Helmet

The latest addition to Hasbro’s line of collector-and-cosplayer-friendly Marvel props is another helmet, based upon the updated design worn by Scott Lang in both Captain America: Civil War and Ant-Man and The Wasp. The helmet, available to order now for $100, includes light up LED strips alongside the exterior.

Captain Marvel Dolls and Roleplay

Captain Marvel merch may already be out ahead of the film’s release in just a few weeks, but Carol Danvers was still proudly on display at Hasbro’s Toy Fair booth, encompassing a line of action dolls based on Carol’s different looks from the films, and a series of roleplay items meant to let kids pretend that they too can fire blasts of photonic energy or…have a faux-hawk, just like the mighty Captain Marvel.

Mezco One:12 Captain Marvel

For Carol Corps members looking for something a little more high-end though, Mezco’s big reveal for its One:12 line of hyper-details action figures was none other than Carol herself. Due out later this year, the figure will include multiple heads to show Carol in both her unhelmeted and helmeted forms, as well as other accessories.

Spider-Man: Far From Home Roleplay Gear

Back at Hasbro, also on display from the movie front was the first look at merchandise for Far From Home, primarily in the form of a variety of wondrous web blasters for you to pretend you’re also a globe-trotting web-slinger. If the Legends figures weren’t enough for you, there were also a few more basic figures highlighting Peter’s two new suits from the film, as well as accompanying vehicles that are a) really weird for Spider-Man to have to use and b) almost definitely not in the final film.


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California airport contractor killed after jet bridge tire explodes – Fox News

A contractor at a California airport was killed Tuesday night after a jet bridge tire he was working on exploded, authorities said.

The two contractors at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana were at the airline workshop when the 4-foot-tall tire ruptured about 11:20 p.m. Tuesday, FOX11 reported. The tire was for the jet bridge, which connects the plane to the terminal for passengers and crewmembers to board and exit an aircraft without walking outside.

JETBLUE PASSENGER KICKED OFF FLIGHT AFTER YELLING ABOUT CHILD, SPITTING AT OTHERS

An airport spokesperson said the force of the tire explosion triggered the workshop’s fire alarm and sprinklers.

Orange County Fire Authority crew and paramedics at the airport rushed to the scene, where the unidentified contractor was pronounced dead.

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The second contractor refused medical attention, FOX11 reported.

It’s unclear what caused the tire explosion and officials are investigating the incident. No flights were impacted.

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JPMorgan’s move into crypto puts the rest of the industry on notice – KSL.com

NEW YORK (CNN) —

JPMorgan Chase’s splashy new digital coin could changehow banks approach blockchain and cryptocurrency.

The initial applications of JPM Coin aren’t revolutionary. JPMorgan said last week it would facilitate the instantaneous transfer of payments between institutional accounts. JPM Coin is just a prototype that can only be used by some of the bank’s corporate customers.

But the news last week attracted a lot of buzz, because itcould force other banks to follow with big blockchain or crypto-related releases of their own.

“More banks will take it seriously,” said Param Vir Singh, a professor of business technologies at Carnegie Mellon University.

The financial industry broadly agrees that money should move around the globe faster and more efficiently.

“Trillions of dollars slosh around the world via an antiquated system of slow payments and added fees,” CB Insights analysts said in a recent report.

That’s why banks in recent years haveshown interest in digital coins and blockchain, a tamper-proof digital ledger.

Blockchain is particularly appealing because it could allow banks to clear payments faster and more securely, using technology that CB Insights said would dramatically cut processing times and reduce the need for third parties to get involved with transactions.

“There are only so many ways you can optimize payments,” said John Velissarios, Accenture’s blockchain technology lead. “The tokenization of cash is certainly one of them.”

With the launch of JPM Coin, JPMorgan has shown it wants to get out in front of this transition, despite itsprevious skepticism.

That could push other banks to show they’re in the game, too. Singh said banks that have a large number of institutional clients, such as Citigroup, will feel the most pressure.

Citi has a sizable Treasury and Trade Solutions unit, which manages cash and paymentsfor companies that operate in multiple countries.

The bank actually tested out a “Citi Coin” in 2014 and 2015 at an innovation lab in Dublin, Ireland.The bank built the pilot so it would understand how money could eventually move on the blockchain, according to Manish Kohli, Citi’s global head of payments and receivables.

It was never rolled out to clients, but Kohli said the experiment informs Citi’s current approach to digital coins and blockchain.

The bank decided it made more sense to help build out national payment infrastructures globally to support real-time payments, and to work directly with clients who want to incorporate blockchain into their payment flows, he said. That’s what the bank has been doing with Nasdaq and Allianz, for example.

“You need every bank on the planet to be able to talk and communicate and be part of this system,” rather than proprietary systems that benefit only “a handful of banks” and aren’t universally adopted, Kohli said.Citi declined to comment about JPM Coin in particular.

Other financial institutions are thinking about how to best use this technology, too. Bank of America, for example, has 82 US patents or published patent applications tied to crypto, blockchain and related tech, according to Envision IP, a law firm that specializes in intellectual property research. That’s more than any other major bank or financial services company reviewed by the firm.

The hype around JPMorgan’s rollout of JPM Coin is partiallyabout timing. Enthusiasm around crypto is more muted than it was at the end of 2017, when bitcoin prices spiked.

“If this announcement had been made a year and a half ago at the peak of the crypto craze, I’m not sure how big the impact would have been,” said Arieh Levi, an analyst at CB Insights.

The fact that JPMorgan, the nation’s biggest bank, is throwing its weight behind such a venture at this juncture lends heft, he added.

JPMorgan will have a leg up because of its size — and because it’s a first mover. That could help it attract or retain clients.

“The more institutional clients you have, the more power you have [and] the more valuable you become,” Carnegie Mellon’s Singh said. “That fight will happen in the next few years.”

It’s not clear whether Citi will revive Citi Coin or Wells Fargo will launch Wells Coin in response to JPMorgan. Singh predicted that more banks would launch tokens of their own to get in the mix, and consolidation would happen down the line.

“Eventually, one platform will win,” he said.

It’s not just major banks and financial services companies that need to tune in. JPM Coin alsoputs a spotlight onRipple, a startup with its own crypto coin and payment network that uses blockchain technology.

Ripple has said it aims to dislodgethe Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or the Swift network. That’s the system banks use to securely communicate with each other to facilitate global payments.

CEO Brad Garlinghouse dismissed JPM Coin on Twitter. But questions about whether it’s a threat could keep cropping up.

Then there are the consortia that have allowed financial institutions to research blockchain applications together, such as R3, whose members include BNY Mellon, State Street and BNP Paribas.

Joining these platforms has served as a “low-cost way to explore the tech without investing too much money,” CB Insights’ Levi said. Yet banks may choose to reemphasize higher-profile approaches now that JPMorgan has asserted itself.

JPM Coin is still in its early stages, and its limits are a reminder that we’re at the beginning of a sea change in how money is transferredaround the world. But it certainly helps to create a stir.

“Nobody wants to be left behind,” Levi said.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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Carl Icahn urges Caesars Entertainment to sell itself – Reuters

FILE PHOTO: Billionaire activist-investor Carl Icahn gives an interview on FOX Business Network’s Neil Cavuto show in New York, U.S. on February 11, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

(Reuters) – Activist investor Carl Icahn on Tuesday urged Caesars Entertainment Corp to sell itself, after disclosing a 9.78 percent stake in the U.S. casino operator.

“Board should conduct a strategic process to comprehensively assess the best path forward for Caesars and believe that shareholder value might be best served, and enhanced, by selling the company,” Icahn said in a regulatory filing. (bit.ly/2SJvpev)

Icahn’s push for a sale of the company comes after Caesars rejected a merger approach last year by Tilman Fertitta, the billionaire owner of Golden Nugget Casinos.

Caesars, whose casinos include the Harrah’s and Horseshoe brands, emerged from bankruptcy in 2017 after failing to cope with some $25 billion in debt.

Its long-term debt stood at about $8.81 billion as of Sept. 30, 2018.

Icahn said he was seeking board representation at Caesars, including, if necessary, nominating a slate of directors at the company’s 2019 annual meeting.

“We believe that our brand of activism is well-suited to the situation at Caesars, which requires new thought, new leadership and new strategies,” Icahn said.

Caesars shares rose nearly 5 percent to $9.59. Up to Friday’s close, the stock had risen 14.5 percent since Jan. 11, when reports of Icahn building a stake in the company emerged.

Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

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Germany may use Huawei hardware for its 5G networks – Engadget

Political leaders are expected to discuss the decision on the night of February 19th. There’s no guarantee Huawei will receive the greenlight, though. While Chancellor Merkel and other top brass might agree, there’s a chance members of the administration and parliament might balk over security fears.

Germany does have incentives to let Huawei in. One of the officials told the WSJ that Germany “missed the boat” on broadband due to its lack of fiber optics, and Huawei would give it a way to catch up without paying as much as it would for alternatives. If there isn’t a demonstrable security risk, why hurt the country’s chances?

Should the country allow Huawei’s involvement, it might foil the US’ overall attempts to deter its allies from using Huawei gear. If Germany (and earlier, the UK) believes Huawei gear is acceptable, that could lead other allies to follow suit and continue doing business with the Chinese tech giant. The anti-Huawei campaign might only have a limited effect if there isn’t support for it outside of the US and a handful of countries like Australia.

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Is Charlotte Russe closing? If no buyer emerges, it may go the way of Toys R Us in March – USA TODAY

Charlotte Russe, the bankrupt women’s clothing chain, is talking to potential buyers, but if a winning bid doesn’t emerge, it expects to start shutting down its stores and operations in early March.  

As it discusses a sale that could keep it in business, the San Diego-based company said Tuesday that it is also asking for court approval of a team that could oversee its possible liquidation.

A tentative timeline has potential bids being offered by March 3, with an auction occurring two days later.

“In the event that a going-concern transaction is not selected as the highest or otherwise best bid following the conclusion of the auction,” Charlotte Russe said in a statement, “the company will facilitate an orderly wind-down of all of its store locations and operations beginning on or about March 7, 2019.”

The mall-based chain, which filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this month, said then that it would be shuttering about 94 of its more than 500 stores. Right now, no other locations are being added to that list. 

If Charlotte Russe doesn’t find a buyer, it would be just the latest major retailer to shut its doors. Toys R Us and Bon Ton closed down after they were unable to execute comebacks amid a landscape roiled by the rise of Amazon, big box giants like Walmart, and fast fashion favorites like Zara and H&M. 

Toys R Us may get second act: Toys R Us, Babies R Us set to re-emerge within Tru Kids Brands

Charlotte Russe is latest to declare bankruptcy:   Charlotte Russe files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, will close 94 stores

Bon-Ton plots its comeback: Bon-Ton may be on the verge of a comeback after bankrupcty

Charlotte Russe had announced a deal to renegotiate the terms around some of its debts over a year ago. After filing for bankruptcy, the company got a financial package valued at up to $50 million to keep it in business. 

The company employs more than 8,700 workers.

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Amazon isn’t killing Walmart online – CNBC

While Amazon still accounts for roughly 50 percent of all e-commerce sales in the U.S., Walmart is little by little gaining a bigger footing. It surpassed Apple in 2018 to become the third-largest online retailer in the country, trailing only Amazon and eBay, according to eMarketer. The market research group predicts Walmart will end 2019 with about a 4.6 percent share of the U.S. e-commerce market, up from 4 percent in 2018.

“Walmart has nailed the [question of]: ‘How do we transition online?'” Moody’s lead retail analyst, Charlie O’Shea, said. “Now, they aren’t building stores, but are spending about the same on capex … that’s going into technology spend and going into e-commerce.”

Walmart’s strategy to grow online is multifold.

It’s been adding more items to its website in a number of ways: Partnering with brands like Lord & Taylor, for its high-end dresses, and Fanatics, for its sports apparel. It has acquired online-first brands like Moosejaw, which now has a home on Walmart.com, and then rolled out a grocery delivery service across the country. Food is a huge part of Walmart’s online business, and the retailer is planning to have 1,600 stores equipped for grocery delivery, and 3,100 grocery pick-up hubs, by the end of this year.

“I think the winning play in grocery will be order online, pick up in store, and I think Walmart is best positioned to do that,” Bill Simon, former president and CEO of Walmart U.S., said. “Don’t underestimate how important the grocery business is for Walmart.”

To be sure, Walmart still has room to improve its online business. It’s still trying to make each shopper’s purchase on the internet a more profitable one. To do that, it needs to sell more than groceries, which have low margins.

Walmart is “trying to build in apparel [and] home — hard lines of business — that brings customers back and generates a positive contribution margin for the [shopper’s] basket,” McMillon said.

The company recently launched its own home furnishings line called MoDRN, as one example of these efforts. It rolled out a number of revamped, in-house apparel brands about a year ago. It’s also recently teamed up with celebrities like Sofia Vergara and Ellen Degeneres for clothing lines exclusive to Walmart.

“The thing that’s taking longer than what I would have guessed is to build that merchandise assortment [on Walmart.com],” McMillon said Tuesday. The company is trying to get to a “repeatable, healthy mix of business online,” he added. “We’re pedaling fast, trying to make that happen, and disappointed it’s taken so long.”

Walmart is also focused on its acquisitions of so-called digitally native brands like Modcloth, Bonobos, Art.com and Bare Necessities, though they don’t yet contribute significantly to Walmart’s e-commerce sales growth, according to the company. The head of Walmart’s e-commerce business in the U.S. and founder of Jet.com, Marc Lore, has hinted that Walmart could one day own upward of 40 digitally native brands.

According to McMillon, in doing these acquisitions, Walmart is “after a repetitive customer relationship.” He said Walmart is “constantly” looking at potential deals. “It’s impossible to predict the pace [of these acquisitions] or the number,” he told analysts and investors.

Amazon, in its own quest for growth, has likewise been investing in building its own in-house brands, but also in attracting more third-party sellers. But what many analysts say the e-commerce juggernaut still lacks is Walmart’s base of thousands of U.S. stores.

“Long term, [Walmart] is using its size to go head-to-head against Amazon,” Liz Dunn, founder and CEO of Pro4ma, a forecasting tool for retailers, said. “And it’s working.”

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Tesla delivers first of 100 Model 3 orders to German EV rental company – Teslarati

A prominent German electric car rental company, nextmove, has received the first four of its 100 Model 3 orders from Tesla. The vehicles, which are Model 3 Performance, would join the company’s ever-growing fleet of over 300 EVs that are available for its customers.

Considering that nextmove has orders for 100 Model 3, the company expects its deliveries for the electric sedan to continue in the near future, particularly as ships loaded with the vehicle are expected to arrive in the European region on a regular basis. nextmove currently has around 350 vehicles. Thus, by the time Tesla completes the car rental company’s order for 100 Model 3, the electric sedan would comprise about 20% of nextmove’s entire fleet of vehicles.

In a press release, nextmove Managing Director Stefan Moeller expressed his optimism about the electric sedan, pointing to the vehicle’s success in North America and its impending invasion of Europe’s EV market.

“The Tesla Model 3 has already made a brilliant market launch in North America. In 2018 it was the best-selling premium vehicle in the USA and at the same time the best-selling electric car worldwide. Now a real tsunami is rolling towards Europe. The disruptive change is in full swing,” he said.

Jochen Rudat, Director Central Europe at Tesla, echoed the nextmove executive’s points, adding that the company’s car rental services would result in opportunities for future Model 3 owners to experience the vehicle firsthand.

“We are delighted to hand over the first four Tesla Model 3 to nextmove. The rental gives potential buyers the opportunity to see for themselves the everyday practicality and multiple benefits of our affordable mid-range vehicle. This is how many drivers have already found their way to their own Tesla in recent years,” he said.

nextmove is one of Tesla’s largest customers in Germany, with the company already offering the Model S and Model X as part of its lineup of vehicles, together with EV offerings from Jaguar, Hyundai, Kia, Volkswagen, GM, BMW, Renault, and Nissan, to name a few. The company also expects to add upcoming EVs such as the Audi e-tron to its fleet in the near future.

The car rental company is no stranger to Tesla’s electric cars and their capabilities. Last year, nextmove succeeded in setting a new hypermiling record for the Model S by having the full-sized sedan travel 701 miles on one charge. The company also accomplished a similar feat for the Model 3, having the electric sedan travel 623 miles on a single charge while traveling almost entirely on Autopilot.

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Intercept Pharmaceuticals is one step closer to getting FDA approval for the first-ever NASH drug – MarketWatch

Intercept Pharmaceuticals Inc.

ICPT, +4.51%

 announced Tuesday that a potential therapy for the fatty liver disease known as NASH had achieved its primary goal in a Phase 3 trial, a week after Gilead Sciences Inc.

GILD, -1.03%

announced a competing trial had failed.

Shares of Intercept were up 4% on Tuesday morning.

There are no approved treatments for NASH, or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, a serious liver disease caused by fat accumulation in the liver that can result in chronic inflammation and scarring, or fibrosis. Eventually, the disease can lead to liver failure, cancer and death.

Intercept’s treatment, obeticholic acid (OCA), is meant to treat patients with liver fibrosis due to NASH. The Phase 3 trial enrolled 931 patients with liver fibrosis who were randomly assigned to be treated with a placebo drug or one of two doses of OCA.

After 18 months, the results were in: 23.1% of patients on the higher OCA dose showed a statistically significant reduction in liver fibrosis, compared to 17.6% of those on the lower dose and 11.9% of those on the placebo, achieving one of the two primary endpoints of the trial. However, although patients on OCA showed a reduction in liver fat and inflammation compared to patients on placebo, the difference was not statistically significant, meaning the trial missed its second primary endpoint. A previous agreement between Intercept and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration stipulated the trial only had to meet one of its two primary goals to be considered successful.

“I am very encouraged by these results that demonstrate OCA’s ability to significantly improve fibrosis in patients with advanced disease, ” said Zobair M. Younossi, chair of the trial’s steering committee and professor at the Department of Medicine at Inova Fairfax Medical Campus, in a statement.

Read: Big biotech companies have flushed $100 billion in stock buybacks down the toilet

The most common side effect of the drug was itchy skin, with 51% of patients in the higher-dose group and 28% in the lower-dose group reporting itchiness compared with 11% in the placebo group. Severe itchy skin was reported in 5% of patients receiving the higher dose, with 9% of those patients deciding to discontinue treatment as a result.

Treatment with OCA was also associated with an increase in LDL cholesterol, consistent what investigators have seen in previous NASH studies, though the number of cardiovascular events was similar across all treatment arms.

Intercept said it plans to file for approval in the U.S. and Europe in the second half of 2019.

If approved, Intercept’s drug would be the first drug to treat the liver condition, which is one of the leading causes of liver transplants. Biotech Galectin Therapeutics Inc.

GALT, +0.98%

 is also working on a Phase 3 NASH therapy, and Novartis

NVS, +0.22%

NOVN, +0.00%

 and Pfizer

PFE, +0.86%

 announced in October they were planning to combine a Novartis drug aimed at NASH with several Pfizer molecules that target the same condition.

Related: Novartis, Pfizer team up on liver-disease drugs

Gilead, a previous front-runner in the race to discover a cure for NASH, announced last week its drug had not met the primary goal in a Phase 3 trial. Shares of Gilead were down 0.4% on Tuesday.

Shares of Intercept have gained 97% in the past 12 months, while the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF

IBB, -0.33%

 has gained 1.3%. The S&P 500

SPX, +0.38%

 index has gained 1.7%.

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