Biotech investors that prefer to play developmental companies for the potential of a lucrative payday just got one more reason to hold their course on Monday as drug giant
Merck agreed to pay
The boards of both companies have approved the transaction.
"Idenix's investigational hepatitis C candidates complement our promising therapies in development and will help advance our work to develop a highly effective, once-daily, all oral, ribavirin-free, pan-genotypic regimen that has a duration of treatment as short as possible for millions of patients in need around the world," said Dr.
Companies are racing to develop new therapies to treat the hepatitis C virus (HCV), as new drugs have dramatically shortened dosing regimens and done so with greater efficacy in reducing viral load.
Ironically, Gilead was charged by many analysts with overpaying when it spent
Two of Idenix's three drugs are in the same class as Gilead's Sovaldi (a 2'-methyl-2'-fluoro nucleoside compound) and involved in patent interference lawsuits in the U.S. and
Merck scientists must be seeing some great value in the Idenix pipeline as a complement to its own, which includes several HCV drugs in development, perhaps foreseeing a possible combination to create a one-pill treatment. As it stands now, Merck's lead candidate is a combination of MK-5172, a NS3/4A protease inhibitor, and MK-8742, a NS5A replication complex inhibitor. The combo, which has garnered a vaunted Breakthrough Therapy designation from the
CNBC reported this morning that when Idenix disclosed positive data six weeks ago on its once daily nucleotide IDX21437, the phone started ringing steadily, ultimately pitting
Looks like Merck won the battle, now let's see how it fares in the war.
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