Bye-bye, Incivek. Just three years after nabbing the "fastest drug launch ever" award, maker Vertex is discontinuing the hepatitis C med on withering demand. For that, the Cambridge-based company has Gilead Sciences--owner of the new fastest drug launch ever--to thank.
Biotech Vertex has pulled the plug on work in the hepatitis C arena, an area it was expected to dominate with its Incivek until Gilead Sciences redefined the category with Sovaldi, a drug now expected to become the top seller of all time.
With Gilead's Sovaldi elbowing Vertex's Incivek aside, Vertex is calling it quits on a once-ambitious R&D effort to keep a niche for itself in hepatitis C. The market, though, didn't blink, rewarding the biotech with a spike in its share price after Vertex cited some early success with a combination therapy for cystic fibrosis.
Hepatitis C drugs like Vertex's Incivek are quickly becoming a thing of the past. A new generation of easier-to-tolerate, interferon-free treatments like Gilead's Sovaldi is moving in, and Vertex's fourth-quarter revenues showed it. But a hefty one-time royalty payment helped the company turn a profit, even despite plummeting sales of Incivek--one of just two drugs it currently has on the market.
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Cambridge, MA-based Vertex Pharmaceuticals says it nailed solid mid-stage data for VX-787, an experimental influenza drug in a new class of medications that promises to prevent the virus from replicating. And the biotech added that it will be in hot pursuit of a new collaboration on the drug.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals ($VRTX) watched its once-high-flying hepatitis C drug go into a nosedive for the fourth quarter. Incivek sales plummeted by 51% to $222.8 million, as fewer new patients elected to start therapy.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals has some serious news about its hepatitis C drug Incivek: Some patients have died from serious skin reactions. The treatment, approved last year, was known to cause rash and skin reactions in some people, but this is the first time Vertex has reported deaths from those reactions.