Market Overview

PropThink: Lightweight Contender ACHN Declines on Gilead's Latest Hepatitis Data


By Jake King

With Gilead's (NASDAQ: GILD) reported 100% Hepatitis C virologic response rate over the weekend, rivals Achillion (NASDAQ: ACHN) and Vertex (NASDAQ: VRTX) traded down 15% and 5% respectively at Monday's open. Vertex shareholders rightfully have cause for alarm, as Incivek's blockbuster status may shortly be replaced by more effective oral treatments. But Achillion's pipeline regimen isn't so far behind Gilead's as to make it obsolete, despite the market's reaction. While both Gilead and Abbot (NYSE: ABT) have a leg up in the development process, Achillion's protease inhibitors suggest a strong safety and efficacy profile without the risk associated with the now-infamous "nucs" that have plagued BMS (NYSE: BMY) and Idenix (NASDAQ: IDIX).

Achillion also announced on Monday that a drug-drug interaction study evaluating the combination of sovaprevir (ACH-1625, lead candidate) and ACH-3102 returned no problems, and the company plans to push forward with a Phase 2 trial evaluating the protease inhibitor and the NS5A inhibitor together. The study will be highly indicative of the combination's effectiveness, especially as investors focus on Gilead's 100% cure rate and Abbot's 97% cure rate. The company expects those results in the first half of 2013. Continue reading by clicking here.

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