BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:BCRX) traded higher Thursday after reporting positive clinical results of a drug used as a potential treat for gout.

Gout, an inflammatory arthritis that affects up to five million people in the US, is caused by higher-than-usual uric acid in the blood that may lead to its buildup in synovial fluid around the joints, causing painful joint inflammation.

The placebo-controlled Phase 2 trial was designed to evaluate the drug’s ability to lower uric acid in the body and determine whether several doses of the drug, BCX4208, and its combination with allopurinol, were safe.

Results showed that the combination of the two drugs most effectively reduced uric acid concentration.

BioCryst chief medical officer Dr. William P. Sheridan called the study “successful” and said the combination of the two drugs may “synergistically reduce” uric acid levels in the blood, thus supporting evaluations as a potential treatment for patients with gout.

The drugmaker is finalizing plans for a 12-week controlled study, expected to commence in early 2011, of BCX4208 as add-on therapy in gout patient who have failed to adequately respond to allopurinol.