Monday, February 11, 2013

Hepatitis C drug companies- By Adam Feuerstein

Fisking Ray Dirks On Medgenics And Shaming Seeking Alpha

BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Ray Dirks posted a screed against Idenix Pharmaceuticals(IDIX) and other hepatitis C drug companies on Seeking Alpha Monday night riddled with factual errors and misstatements. Idenix and other stocks were the foil Dirks used to promote Medgenics(MDGN) and its interferon "biopumps." Instead, he embarrassed himself with his fundamental ignorance about hepatitis C.... 
Dirks: Last August, global giant Bristol-Myers Squibb(BMY) was forced by the FDA to stop all clinical trials of its NS5B after the death of a patient. And as a testament to the herd mentality of Big Pharma's cutthroat greed that competes to be the first, other firms joined the NS5B contest to replace interferon while analysts gushed over a potential $20 billion market for the new drugs. 
Wrong. Bristol halted a clinical trial of its guanosine-based nuc BMS-096084 after a patient died of heart failure. Additional patient suffered serious heart-related side effects. 
The "other firms" in the race to develop a potent Hep C nuc include Gilead Sciences(GILD). Gilead's sofosbuvir is the most effective Hep C pill in clinical development today and will be filed for U.S. and European approval later this year. The drug has not been linked at all to significant toxicity, let alone patient deaths. If Medgenics is "unstoppable," how best to describe Gilead's stock performance? It's more than doubled in the past two years. 
Dirks: With Bristol Myers knocked out of the picture, others companies such as Gilead Sciences and Achillion Pharmaceuticals rallied on. I think it's only a matter of time before they all wise up and realize this drug is not only useless but dangerous. Thankfully for Americans, the FDA is doing something right by seriously questioning whether clinical trials of the NS5Bs should go on. 
Wrong. FDA is concerned with guanosine-based nucs and placed two such drugs from Idenix and one from Biocryst Pharmaceuticals(BCRX) on clinical hold. The safety of uridine-based nucs under development by Gilead, Vertex, Idenix and others have not been questioned and FDA has not placed these drugs on clinical hold........

Continue Reading @ The Street........

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