News just in confirms that Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX) is casting aside one medicine as a dud, in favor of the second, which is currently at a mid-stage study scheduled to commence in a few weeks. This comes as a surprise. It has hardly been two years since Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX) licensed the pair of treatment drugs from Alios BioPharma in a high priority bid to come up with an oral, interferon free approach to Hepatitis C.
In a move that was deemed to be Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX)’s way of maintaining an edge in the swelling Hepatitis C market, Vertex agreed to a $1.5 billion package for ALS- 2158 and ALS-2200. The agreement compelled Vertex to part with $60 million upfront. All the same, 2158’s antiviral activity fizzled in the early stages of study, and Vertex has since been compelled to settle for the 2200.
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Investigators have expressed their satisfaction in the progress made. They noted there had been a commendable reduction from Baseline in HCV RNA, after a seven day once daily 200 mg dose of ALS-2200. According to the investigators, the ALS-2200 dose was coupled with Ribavirin in genotype 1 chronic Hepatitis C patients who were receiving similar treatment for the first time.
“Our goal is to develop all-oral regimens that are well-tolerated and provide a high rate of viral cure, in a broad population of people with chronic hepatitis C,” noted Robert Kauffman, Vertex’s chief medical officer. Kauffman further noted that he was impressed by the progress, citing that Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (NASDAQ:VRTX) was expecting to commence all-oral phase 2 combination studies by the fall of this year.
Vertex’s competition has been on and off, as different biotech players grapple with struggles of their own. Bristol Meyers for instance, ended up on the receiving end of scrutiny, after the $2.5 billion acquisition of an inhibitor’s flagship drug ended up killing a patient and harming others
Performance in the pharmaceutical front has stalled following varied fashions of complications. Peregrine Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:PPHM) for instance, exhibited poor stock performance on Monday, following serious discrepancies in trial data. Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOR), another formidable player in the niche, is also facing its challenges, following an FDA probe that rattled investors’ confidence in its stock.