Hepatitis C bubble continues to grow

Date June 13, 2011

As deals for pre-clinical stage assets go, they do not come much bigger. The $60m upfront that Vertex Pharmaceuticals has handed to Alios BioPharma today for rights to two pre-clinical hepatitis C candidates, highlights burgeoning expectations in the field and the Massachusetts company’s desire to protect and extend its commercial and pipeline franchise of novel hep C agents.

The deal, which has a staggering bio-dollar potential value of $1.53bn, sees Vertex snap up two polymerase inhibitors, a class of drug very much seen as the future beyond the recently approved protease inhibitors (EASL - Beyond protease inhibitors hep C pipeline filling up, April 4, 2011). Deals of this size and nature, topping the pre-clinical deal league (see below), are normally the domain of promising cancer therapies, indicating intense competition in the race to develop safer and more effective hepatitis C treatments.

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