Gilead has already made a megablockbuster fortune out of its hepatitis C cure. But the race to cure patients faster (and probably cheaper) is still on. And Achillion today posted some new data from small studies that show its NS5A inhibitor odalasvir (or ACH-3102) could feature prominently in one of the new cocktail therapies now in development at Johnson & Johnson.
While Regulus was getting dinged this morning following some careful scrutiny of its latest hep C data, Achillion came out on top with new trial results which demonstrated that a combination of its NS5A inhibitor and Gilead's Sovaldi triggered a 6-week cure among all of the patients in a small study. And now researchers are using the data to set the stage to see if the results can be replicated even faster in a 4-week trial.
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.