There are no sure things in drug development, but physicians across the country are clearly waiting in expectation of the near-term approval of two new hepatitis C drugs--telaprevir and boceprevir--which promise to revolutionize treatment of the disease. And that bodes well for Vertex and Merck, which developed two of the hottest drug prospects now up for an approval.
While most developers facing an FDA decision go through a nail-biting episode of extreme uncertainty, Vertex and Merck are being treated to a pre-approval round of celebratory reports in a host of media outlets.
"This is opening up a new door" for treatment of hepatitis C, Dr. Raymond Koff of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine tells the Los Angeles Times. Dr. Stuart Gordon, a hepatitis C researcher at Detroit's Henry Ford Hospital, tells the Detroit Free Press that the two drugs represent "a major advance in the cure of a very common disease."
The rave reviews are likely to help pave a short path to blockbuster sales for the two companies. With patients and physicians anxiously awaiting approval, the initial demand for both therapies will be strong.