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12:00 AM
 | 
Feb 07, 2005
 |  BioCentury  |  Product Development

Early to the HCV cocktail party

The hepatitis C area is both wide open and highly competitive: wide open because the marketed products - interferon alphas and ribavirin - are not that good, and highly competitive because the opportunity is obvious. Thus Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. is pressing to build front-runner status with a cocktail approach to the disease, and expects several pieces of key news this year.

VRTX has two oral compounds in development: VX-950, an HCV protease inhibitor, and VX-947 (merimepodib), an inhibitor of inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMPDH), an enzyme that regulates the production of nucleotides that the virus needs for replication.

The results of a Phase Ib trial of VX-950 will be closely watched, even though it is early stage. According to VRTX, this is the first clinical study in which an HCV protease inhibitor has been dosed for as long as 14 days.

VRTX believes that showing a significant drop in HCV RNA would differentiate protease inhibition from other antiviral approaches in...

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