Biotech Achillion Pharmaceuticals is working to get its name on the short list of blockbuster hepatitis C contenders, revealing promising Phase II data for a combination of its antiviral with Gilead Sciences' leading Sovaldi.
Few biotechs loved to flirt with investors about the prospect of a buyout more than the hepatitis C specialist Achillion. Former CEO Michael Kishbauch made a habit of it. And not long after Milind Deshpande took the helm last fall, he quickly reignited talk of a sale, only to watch the stock tank days later when the FDA put its NS3/4A protease inhibitor, sovaprevir, on clinical hold.
After the market closed on Friday, Achillion spread the word that the FDA is maintaining its clinical hold related to its once-hot hepatitis C drug sovaprevir, while distributing some unimpressive data on its combination approach.
Shares of Achillion skidded down 20% as the news spread Monday evening that the FDA put a clinical hold on its hepatitis C drug sovaprevir after investigators flagged a spike in liver enzymes--a classic sign of toxicity--among a group of patients taking it in a combo treatment.
Bristol-Myers Squibb is staying in the chase to commercialize an all-oral regimen for hepatitis C, despite having to end development of one of its key weapons against the liver-damaging disease this summer because of serious adverse events in study patients.
A year ago buzz about a potential Achillion buyout was all the rage as big biopharma rivals jostled for the inside track in a multibillion-dollar race through the clinic with next-gen hepatitis C therapies.
Hepatitis C drug developer Achillion Pharmaceuticals expects to haul in proceeds of a $41.8 million sale of common stock to QVT Financial. And the funding comes ahead of some important clinical trial results from the New Haven, CT-based developer's pipeline of hep C treatments.
With developers of oral hepatitis C drugs falling hard in recent weeks, Achillion Pharmaceuticals has attracted fresh M&A speculation because the developer's contenders in this closely watched race remain unscathed in clinical studies.
Achillion CEO Michael Kishbauch hasn't been the least bit shy about touting the company's buyout prospects. Quick to boast about the biotech's promising hepatitis C drugs, he's been raising hopes and stirring buyout buzz with every appearance.
At the BIO CEO & Investor Conference in New York yesterday, Achillion CEO Michael Kishbauch wrapped up his remarks on the biotech's hepatitis C programs by making it clear that he was angling for