No shocker here: Human Genome Sciences
I'm surprised only that the rejection didn't come earlier. The agency took its fully allotted 10 months to review the drug, even though it told the companies in June that an approval looked unlikely.
Zalbin was designed to be more convenient to take than current hepatitis C treatments from Roche and Merck
Don't feel sorry for either company, though. Novartis can easily take a hit. The pharma giant also announced that it was dropping development of an antifungal drug, Mycograb; combined with the Zalbin decision, that will result in a $590 million charge in the third quarter. The hit will be somewhat offset by the sale of the U.S. rights for adult-incontinence medicine Enablex to Warner Chilcott
For Human Genome Sciences, the focus now rests squarely on its lupus treatment Benlysta, which is partnered with GlaxoSmithKline
Investors won't have to wait long for an approval. Expect a decision on Benlysta on or around Dec. 9.
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