Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hepatitis C Drug Derailed by Deal

Hepatitis C Drug Derailed by Deal

Sofosbuvir (GS-7977) and Daclatasvir (BMS-790052)


Earlier this year, researchers reported impressive results for a treatment that offered a potential cure for intractable cases of hepatitis C. But now, millions of patients waiting for such a breakthrough may never get it.

The story of how the promising therapy got stalled despite positive research illustrates a little-acknowledged truism in the pharmaceutical industry: Sometimes drugs die not because they don't work or are unsafe, but because they don't make business sense.

The hepatitis C treatment paired a pill from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. BMY -1.22% with another from a biotech called Pharmasset under an agreement struck last year. After the successful early research, Bristol was "very keen" to quickly move into final testing, according to Douglas Manion, a Bristol drug-development official. But by that time, things had changed: Pharmasset had been bought by Bristol's rival Gilead Sciences Inc. GILD -0.55% And Gilead "declined to collaborate," said Dr. Manion.

Dr. Kwo, who has consulted for Bristol, Gilead and other drug makers involved in hepatitis C research, said he wasn't taking sides. He also said early study data for other combinations are showing cure rates comparable to the Bristol-Gilead pairing........

Continue Reading @ WSJ

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