J&J buys into Achillion's hep C pipeline for up to $1.1B
May 19, 2015 | By Damian Garde
Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ), fighting to keep up with the blockbuster race to launch quick cures for hepatitis C, has agreed to pay as much as $1.1 billion for the rights to Achillion Pharmaceuticals' ($ACHN) pipeline of antiviral treatments.
Under the deal, J&J is making a $225 million investment in its partner and promising up to $905 million in milestone payments in order to get its hands on a group of in-development hep C treatments. The plan is to develop Achillion's drugs in combination with one another and, ideally, come up with a regimen thatcan cure the infection in as few as four weeks. Leading the pipeline is ACH-3102, Achillion's Phase II NS5A inhibitor, followed by the complementary ACH-3422 and sovaprevir.
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The big driver here is that Aveo’s prior report of interim median progression-free survival (PFS) results of 8.4 months among the 163 patients enrolled in Study 902 was too low. Aveo’s final results have now indicated that there is a median PFS in this setting of 11.0 months. Even better, the median overall survival was 21.6 months.
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Excitement Among Proof-of-Concept Drug Companies Could Spill Over Into This Lesser-Known Name
Excitement from proof-of-concept stage drug companies like Aduro Biotech ( ADRO ) or Receptos (NASDAQ: RCPT) could spill over into the lesser-known Sunshine Heart (NASDAQ: SSH), whose device is in a pivotal study for the treatment of late-stage heart failure - a disease with prognosis as poor as the most aggressive cancers and no effective treatment options. The market opportunity is perhaps as largeas ~$90 Billion.Part of the reason Aduro has performed amicably is that their approach to treating cancer is novel and potentially offers a favorable safety profile, particularly when compared to standard of care.
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