(ACHN) Achillion Pharmaceuticals’ HCV Candidates Progress

Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ACHN) recently commenced international phase II studies on sovaprevir and ACH-3102 for the treatment of genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C (HCV). The trial will assess an all-oral 12-week interferon-free regimen consisting of sovaprevir, ACH-3102, and ribavirin in 50 treatment-naïve patients with chronic HCV.

Safety, tolerability, and sustained virologic response four weeks after the completion of dosing (SVR4) are the primary endpoints of the trial.

ACH-3102 is being evaluated in various combinations. Earlier, Achillion reported interim phase II results from a study consisting of ACH-3102 and ribavirin for the treatment of genotype 1b, IL28B CC genotype, HCV. The results indicated that 6 out of 8 patients who received 12 weeks of therapy achieved rapid virologic response (RVR).

According to information provided by Achillion, more than 170 million people are infected with HCV across the world. HCV affects more than 5 million people in the US which is more than twice as prevalent as HIV.

Achillion has three lead candidates for the treatment of HCV, namely, sovaprevir and ACH-3102 (both in phase II), and ACH-2684 (phase I).

Sovaprevir and ACH-2684 are NS3 protease inhibitors while ACH-3102 is an NS5A inhibitor. The HCV market is currently has products like Victrelis, Incivek, Pegasys, Roferon-A, Intron-A and Peg-Intron. Currently many large cap companies are also developing drugs for the treatment of HCV.

Achillion carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Currently companies like Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (VRTX), Cleveland BioLabs, Inc. (CBLI) and Transcept Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (TSPT) look more attractive with a ZacksRank #1 (Strong Buy).
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