SOURCE: The Bedford Report

The Bedford Report

November 08, 2011 08:16 ET

Acquisition Spotlight Shines on Hepatitis C Drug Developers

The Bedford Report Provides Equity Research on Idenix Pharmaceuticals & Anadys Pharmaceuticals

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Nov 8, 2011) - Biotech companies focused on treatment for Hepatitis C have been on the upswing in recent weeks as a combination of acquisitions and positive test results has raised investor interest. While the FDA approved two Hepatitis C drugs earlier this year -- the first treatment breakthrough in two decades -- newer drugs working through the approval process are reported to have better cure rates and reduced side effects. The Bedford Report examines the outlook for companies in the biotechnology industry and provides investment research on Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: IDIX) and Anadys Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ANDS). Access to the full company reports can be found at:

Both Vertex's Incivek and Merck and Co.'s Victrelis were cleared by the FDA this spring. Analysts argue that both companies could get billions in sales of both drugs. In the third quarter alone, Vertex reported sales of $420 million for Incivek. Hepatitis C is a viral infection that often has no symptoms but which can lead to life-threatening liver damage. Approximately 4 million Americans have the disease.

Idenix's current focus is on the treatment of patients with chronic hepatitis C infection. The Company's lead program, IDX184, is a pan-genotypic oral nucleotide polymerase inhibitor that has shown potent antiviral activity in both preclinical and clinical studies.

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Last month Switzerland-based Roche Holdings AG agreed to acquire Anadys Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the development of medicines for the treatment of hepatitis C for $230 million in cash.

In a note to clients, JMP Securities analyst Liisa Bayko said she expects she expects more hepatitis drug developers to be acquired. "We anticipate more deal making in the hepatitis C virus space in 2012 as companies accrue longer-term safety data on the earlier stage assets in the pipeline," she wrote.

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