New Haven, Conn.
Why It's Fierce: Achillion's zinc finger proteins offer a unique approach to treating infectious diseases such as herpes and hepatitis C. Nucleic acids such as DNA and RNA require zinc to maintain the proper three-dimensional structure. Zinc finger-based drugs distort the geometry of the building blocks for specific viruses, slowing the proliferation of disease. The company's lead drug, ACH-126, is in Phase II studies for hepatitis B and HIV. We think this could be the next drug in an HIV cocktail therapy.
What to look for in 2003: Achillion's maturing pipeline and crop of seasoned senior scientists from Bristol-Myers could attract the attention of a deep-pocketed pharma partner in 2003.