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12:00 AM
Jan 26, 2009
 |  BioCentury  |  Product Development

First class letdown

In September 2005, Panacos Pharmaceuticals Inc. was a rising star with a $500 million market cap and a lead compound in Phase IIa testing to treat HIV. Last week, more than three years later and with the same candidate stuck in Phase IIb, Pancos sold bevirimat to Myriad Pharmaceuticals Inc. for $7 million in cash.

Panacos has now returned to what is essentially a seed-stage company with a $3.7 million market cap and lead programs in preclinical development.

Bevirimat is a first-in-class HIV maturation inhibitor. The compound binds to HIV gag polyprotein and thus prevents virions from maturing into infectious viruses. President and CEO Alan Dunton said this MOA enables the compound to work against strains that are resistant to other agents, such as protease inhibitors.

Panacos was originally developing the compound as an oral liquid but ran into trouble in 2006 when it moved into Study 203, a Phase IIb trial, with a tablet formulation. The 400 mg tablet...

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