For $11 billion, a 59% premium above Pharmasset's all-time high, Gilead is getting PSI-7977, an oral treatment that doesn't require interferon injections and their nasty side effects. This is potentially a huge improvement over the current standard of care, such as recently approved drugs like Vertex Pharmaceuticals'
It's no surprise that Vertex is down 3% as of this writing and that Inhibitex
For Gilead, this is not an indictment of its own stable of hep-C drug candidates. The future of treatment of this disease will be drug cocktails, similar to Gilead's HIV treatments Atripla and the upcoming Quad. Pharmasset already had deals with Bristol-Myers Squibb and Johnson & Johnson to create combo products. Now Gilead will potentially get a cut of those products' sales, and also the chance to boost its own higher-margin offerings' chances of success.
The multibillion-dollar race for hepatitis C treatment supremacy is well under way. The best way to track the latest developments surrounding the companies mentioned above is to add them to our free My Watchlist feature:
- Add Pharmasset to My Watchlist.
- Add Gilead Sciences to My Watchlist.
- Add Vertex to My Watchlist.
- Add Merck to My Watchlist.
- Add Inhibitex to My Watchlist.
- Add Achillion to My Watchlist.
- Add Bristol-Myers Squibb to My Watchlist.
- Add Johnson & Johnson to My Watchlist.
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David Williamson owns shares of Johnson & Johnson, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Johnson & Johnson. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Gilead Sciences, Johnson & Johnson, and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a diagonal call position in Johnson & Johnson. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.