Shares of Panacos shot up yesterday when the drug developer reported that it discovered factors that predict response to bevirimat, its lead HIV maturation inhibitor. Patients who had few mutations on the HIV Gag protein were more likely to respond to bevirimat. When researchers analyzed data from a recent Phase II trial, they found that about 50 percent of the 100 patients studied have these specific changes in Gag. "In a very short period of time we have made a number of significant discoveries with regard to bevirimat. We can specifically target the patients who will respond well to bevirimat in advance. In that population, we have seen a dramatic treatment response," noted Alan W. Dunton, Panacos' President and CEO. Simple genotype test will help determine which patients benefit from bevirimat; additional trials will be needed to test the drug in this group.
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