(Reuters) - Shares of Amarin Corp (AMRN.O) rose as much as 17 percent to a year high on Wednesday after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office indicated that key patents on the company's heart drug could be issued soon.
The drug AMR101 aims to cut fat content in the blood and is currently under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. A decision is expected in July.
In August 2011, the U.S. PTO rejected the company's application seeking patent protection on the drug until 2030. Amarin has since appealed the PTO rejection.
"We believe the PTO has moved close to allowing all three (patent) applications, which is clearly a positive for a longer AMR101 exclusivity than the Street currently assumes," Jefferies Analyst Thomas Wei wrote in a note to clients.
Wei raised his price target on the stock to $26 from $24.
Analysts expect the drug to be approved in July and compete with GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK.L) popular heart pill Lovaza, the analyst said.
Amarin was not available for comment.
Shares of the Nasdaq-listed Irish company, which have gained 85 percent since the FDA accepted its marketing application in November, were up 13 percent at $14.85 on Wednesday morning.
(Reporting by Vidya P L Nathan and Prateek Kumar in Bangalore; Editing by Roshni Menon)