Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
) recently announced that it has initiated a phase II study
(HELIX-1: n = 90) evaluating the combination of hepatitis C virus
(HCV) infection candidates, samatasvir (IDX719) and simeprevir
(TMC435). The study is being conducted in collaboration with
Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a pharmaceutical company of
Johnson & Johnson
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As monotherapy, samatasvir is being developed by Idenix Pharma
and simeprevir by Johnson & Johnson in collaboration with
The 12-week, randomized, double-blind and parallel group HELIX-1
study will evaluate three doses of samatasvir (50, 100, or 150
mg). The study will assess the safety and tolerability of
samatasvir in combination with simeprevir and ribavirin, a widely
used HCV infection drug in first-line non-cirrhotic, genotype 1b
or 4 HCV-infected patients.
We remind investors that Idenix Pharma entered into a
non-exclusive collaboration agreement with Johnson & Johnson,
in Jan 2013, to develop HCV combination therapies. The
collaboration will assess different combinations of samatasvir,
simeprevir, and TMC647055 (another Johnson & Johnson's HCV
As per the terms of the agreement, Idenix Pharma will conduct the
studies, while Johnson & Johnson will supply simeprevir and
TMC647055 for the trials free of cost. Both the companies
will not receive any milestone and royalty payments as a part of
Idenix Pharma plans to initiate a second phase II trial (HELIX-2)
on samatasvir, simeprevir and TMC647055 in the second half of
A sizeable population suffers from HCV the world over. However,
the treated population is much lower. This leaves the field open
for new treatments.
Both Idenix Pharma and Johnson & Johnson, currently carry a
Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Right now, companies that look
well-positioned include Zacks Ranked #1 (Strong Buy)
Salix Pharmaceuticals, Ltd.