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What: Shares of hepatitis-C focused company Achillion Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ACHN ) is up 13% today, following the release of positive proof-of-concept data on drug hopeful, ACH-3102.
So what: Early-stage data released today suggests Achillion’s ACH-3102, a non-nucleotide, protease-based inhibitor, showed statistically significant mean reduction in hepatitis-C virus levels in patients studied. The data was encouraging enough for the company to move forward with a stage 2a trial for patients with the difficult-to-treat genotype 1b form of the hepatitis-C virus.
Now what: I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but betting on Achillion here is like leaving the baseball game in the third inning because your team is up four to one. There’s still a lot of game left to be played. Achillion still has genotype 1b efficacy and safety issues to overcome, as well as myriad competitors. At the moment, Gilead Sciences (Nasdaq: GILD ) GS7977 is in line to garner the lion’s share of the non-interferon based HCV treatment market, assuming its safety profile remains pristine. Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY ) and Idenix Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: IDIX ) haven’t been nearly as lucky, with Bristol’s BMS-986094 being completely discontinued due to safety issues, and Idenix having two trials halted indefinitely by the FDA while it investigates drug safety. I stand by my assessment of not being sold on Achillion’s pipeline.
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