Issue Date: January 16, 2012
Bristol-Myers Will Acquire Hepatitis C Firm Inhibitex
In the second hepatitis C drug company acquisition in as many months, Bristol-Myers Squibb has agreed to purchase Inhibitex for about $2.5 billion. Atlanta-based Inhibitex is conducting Phase II clinical trials on INX-189, a small-molecule nucleotide polymerase inhibitor for the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV). BMS says the developmental compound will join its own portfolio of antiviral drugs for HCV. Gilead Sciences is in the process of completing the acquisition of Pharmasset, another HCV drug developer, for roughly $11 billion. The HCV drug market heated up earlier in 2011 when FDA approved new HCV treatments from Merck & Co. and Vertex Pharmaceuticals in rapid succession. However, those compounds still need to be taken with PEGylated interferon, an injectable drug associated with fatigue, bone marrow suppression, and anemia. BMS and Gilead are counting on their acquisitions to help them offer all-oral HCV treatment regimens.
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