Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
) recently entered into a non-exclusive agreement for the phase
II development of once-daily all-oral treatment regimens
combining Vertex Pharma's VX-135 and Bristol-Myers' daclatasvir
for the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections.
Terms of the Deal
The companies said that Vertex Pharma would conduct two phase
II studies with the combination. This includes an initial study
that will be initiated in the second quarter of 2013 in
treatment-naïve patients with genotype 1 HCV infection.
Once data from this study is available, Vertex Pharma will
commence a study, potentially in the second half of the year, in
treatment-naïve patients with genotype 1, 2 or 3 HCV infection,
including patients with cirrhosis. The studies will evaluate the
safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and viral cure rates (SVR4
and SVR12) of several all-oral regimens of VX-135 plus
daclatasvir dosed once daily.
Co-formulation activities will also be conducted by Vertex
Pharma so as to explore the possibility of developing a
once-daily fixed-dose combination regimen.
We are positive on this deal which reflects the commitment of
both companies towards developing new therapies for HCV. The HCV
market represents immense commercial potential with more than 170
million HCV patients across the world.
Vertex Pharma has a strong presence in the HCV market - in
addition to marketing Incivek, the company is working on
improving treatment options for HCV patients. Incivek, which was
launched in 2011, had initially seen strong sales. However, sales
have been declining as patients await better treatments.
Vertex Pharma has non-exclusive deals for VX-135 with other
companies as well including Janssen and
). Another HCV candidate in Vertex Pharma's pipeline is
Meanwhile, Bristol-Myers is also looking to build a presence
in the HCV market. In addition to daclatasvir (phase III),
Bristol-Myers' HCV pipeline includes peginterferon lambda (phase
III) and asunaprevir (phase III).
Currently, both Vertex Pharma and Bristol-Myers are Zacks Rank
#3 (Hold) stocks.
) looks more attractive at present with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong
BIOGEN IDEC INC (BIIB): Free Stock Analysis
BRISTOL-MYERS (BMY): Free Stock Analysis
GLAXOSMITHKLINE (GSK): Free Stock Analysis
VERTEX PHARM (VRTX): Free Stock Analysis
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.