Apparently, the press-release distribution companies were offering a two-for-one special for biotechs yesterday. In addition to releasing earnings, both Dendreon
The company's early-stage hepatitis C drug, ALS-2200, performed well in a phase 1 study. The highest dose produced a median 4.54 log10 decline in virus levels after seven days of treatment, which is pretty substantial. Half of the patients treated with that dose saw their virus levels drop below detectable levels.
Granted, only eight patients were given each dose of the drug, but the efficacy of hepatitis C drugs tends to translate well from early stage trials through late stages. The biggest worry at this point will be on the safety front, as the drug is tested in larger groups of patients.
The clinical-trial news overshadowed a rather poor performance by the biotech's current hepatitis C treatment, Incivek. The company sold $328 million worth of the drug in the second quarter, substantially lower than the $357 million sold in the first quarter.
The problem doesn't seem to be so much that Incivek is losing market share to Merck's
Investors can afford to ignore Incivek because the growth potential of Vertex isn't in its first-born hepatitis C child. Instead, the future of the space is a combination of hepatitis C drugs, and for Vertex to have one more option to create a combo with gives it a shot to compete with Gilead Sciences
Yeah, I'd say that was worth a separate press release.
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Fool contributor Brian Orelli holds no position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Dendreon and Abbott Laboratories. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals and Gilead Sciences. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.