Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc (NASDAQ:ACHN)’s “sovaprevir” still to prove efficacy
Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc (NASDAQ:ACHN) said the United States FDA has put a clinical-hold on its experimental hepatitis C treatment, sovaprevir, over safety concerns. Shares were halted briefly on this news and dropped 25.12% to $6.26 at the close of trading on Tuesday. The regulator put a clinical-hold on the drug after early-stage study of sovaprevir interactions in healthy patients indicated an increase in liver enzymes linked to higher-than-expected exposures to this drug as well as atazanavir, another drug.
ACHN had voluntarily discontinued dosing in this study after it found that that numerous people who had been enrolled in the study showed high liver-enzyme counts. Preliminary investigation revealed that dosing with both these drugs resulted in a metabolic reaction. This increased plasma-concentration in both these drugs, though no serious adverse reports came in. The FDA has given the company permission to enroll patients in another mid-stage study that evaluates sovaprevir in conjunction with other drugs in patients who are suffering from hepatitis C. Achillion is in competition with Gilead sciences and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co to bring oral hepatitis C drugs into a market that is considered to have a multi-million dollar potential.
What is hepatitis C?
This is a liver infection and the Hepatitis C virus causes it. It can cause damage to the liver and result in chronic infection. This infection is acquired via different blood-borne methods. Infected people carry the hepatitis C virus in their blood as well as body fluids. If these body fluids get exchanged with those of a healthy person, the infection gets transmitted to the latter. This virus may also get transmitted through blood transfusion or via saliva, vaginal fluid or the semen of an infected person. Since the hepatitis C virus is concentrated in the blood, it largely spreads through blood. It seems like Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc (NASDAQ:ACHN) is going to have to try harder to prove that sovaprevir works.