Monday, June 13, 2011

Vertex and Ahos Working together to bring two new Hepatitis C Drugs To Patients

From Nature;

Buoyed by telaprevir’s success, Vertex adds more hepatitis C drugs to its pipeline

It’s looking more and more like Vertex Pharmaceuticals is working to monopolize the market on hepatitis C drugs. Hot off the approval of Vertex’s Incivek (telaprevir) at the end of May, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company announced today that they’re teaming up with South San Francisco’s Alios BioPharma to develop two more experimental compounds that disrupt the virus. Under the terms of the agreement, Vertex has committed $60 million up front and could give Alios as much as $1.5 billion in the long run.

Unlike Incivek, which targets an essential hepatitis C serine protease called NS3/4A, the two newly licensed drugs from Alios interfere with a different component of the hepatitis C replication machinery. Both agents disrupt a viral polymerase called NS5B, but the two compounds, dubbed ALS-2200 and ALS-2158, have different targets within the enzyme and work synergistically in pre-clinical cell-based studies, according to Vertex’s press release. With an eye to developing multidrug cocktails from within its own pipeline, Vertex has also shown that the Alios compounds have an additive effect with Incivek and another hep C drug known as VX-222.After receiving an upfront payment of $60 million for the worldwide rights to the compounds, Alios could get an additional $715 million in research and developmental milestone payments if both drugs are approved, and another $750 million from Vertex based on sales.

Vertex and Ahos Working together to bring two new Hepatitis  C Drugs To Patients 
The addition of these compounds provides Vertex with multiple opportunities to develop potential, new, all-oral combination regimens for chronic hepatitis C
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (Nasdaq: VRTX) and Alios BioPharma, Inc. today announced an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement that will add two distinct nucleotide analogues to Vertex's hepatitis C portfolio. The compounds, which were discovered by Alios and are known as ALS-2200 and ALS-2158, have shown in in vitro studies to be potent inhibitors of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) polymerase, an enzyme essential for replication of the virus. The addition of these compounds provides Vertex with multiple opportunities to develop potential, new, all-oral combination regimens for chronic hepatitis C. Vertex expects ALS-2200 and ALS-2158 to enter clinical development later this year.

"We are excited to begin working with Vertex, as we believe that the Alios nucleotide analogues provide an important opportunity to improve patient care in hepatitis C," said Lawrence M. Blatt, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Alios BioPharma. "For more than a decade, Vertex has been a leader in the development of new approaches for treating hepatitis C, and together we have the potential to create an all-oral, interferon-free, combination therapy that could improve the safety, efficacy and ease of administration for patients. We look forward to initiating clinical development later this year."

"The recent approval of INCIVEK was a milestone in hepatitis C care, and today's announcement underscores our long-term commitment to further improving the treatment of this disease with new combinations of medicines," said Peter Mueller, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Vice President of Global Research and Development at Vertex. "Alios has discovered anti-HCV nucleotides that have the potential to be leading agents in hepatitis C. Based on impressive in vitro data, we look forward to evaluating ALS-2200 and ALS-2158 together and in combination with our approved and investigational hepatitis C medicines with the goal of creating a highly potent all-oral regimen in the years ahead."
Source: Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated


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