) recently announced results from a phase II study of its
candidate VP20621 (non-toxigenic Clostridium difficile), which is
being developed to prevent recurrent C. difficile infections
(CDI), a gastrointestinal infection.
The study (n=168) was conducted over 14 days wherein VP20621
was administered orally in adults previously treated for C.
difficile- associated diarrhea (CDAD) with oral vancomycin
or metronidazole. The patients were given either placebo or
VP20621 after they completed their antibiotic treatment to
evaluate the tolerability of the latter.
Results from the study revealed statistically significant
reductions in CDI recurrence in patients treated with VP20621
compared to those in the placebo arm. We note that at its inv day
in Sep 2012, the company had designated VP20621 as a non-core
asset. However, encouraged by the data, ViroPharma plans to seek
a partner for the further development and subsequent
commercialization of the candidate. We note that ViroPharma
already has an approved drug, Vancocin indicated for the
treatment of CDAD.
Hence, ViroPharma plans to complete the evaluation of the
phase II data to determine the pathway for future
Nevertheless, ViroPharma also has maribavir in its pipeline,
which is being developed for the treatment of cytomegalovirus
(CMV) infections in transplant recipients. Other candidates
include VP20629, which is being developed for the treatment of
Meanwhile, the growth story for ViroPharma revolves around
Cinryze, which is approved in the US for routine prophylaxis
against angioedema attacks in adolescent and adult patients with
hereditary angioedema (HAE). Cinryze accounted for 76% of total
sales in 2012.
Although we are positive on the growth prospects of Cinrzye,
we are concerned about the company's increasing dependence on the
same going forward.
ViroPharma currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Pharma
stocks, which currently look more attractive, include
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated
). All three carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
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