On Monday, drugmaker and Rule Breakers pick Vertex Pharmaceuticals
Development of telaprevir continued apace in the first quarter, with Vertex initiating another phase 2 study of the drug, dubbed Prove 3, in February. Vertex expects the Prove 3 trial to complete enrollment of 440 patients by the end of the second quarter. While Prove 3 is not as important in gaining regulatory approval as results from the recently announced Prove 1 trial, Prove 3 offers the chance to significantly expand telaprevir's use (if it can get approved) into the 50% or so of patients who fail to show a benefit after taking HCV drugs like the two leading compounds from Roche and Schering-Plough
After Vertex signed a development deal with Johnson & Johnson
Vertex has about as good a job as is possible in rapidly moving telaprevir through clinical trials and later-stage testing. If all goes to plan, phase 3 trials of telaprevir will begin in the fourth quarter of 2007. If the Prove 2 and 3 results are as positive as the Prove 1 data was, Vertex remains in great shape to be the first biotech to have an HCV protease inhibitor on the market.
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Johnson & Johnson is an Income Investor recommendation.
Fool contributor Brian Lawler does not own shares of any company mentioned in this article.