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Achillion Attains 52-Week High on ACH-3102 Patent Protection

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Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s (ACHN) shares touched a 52-week high of $10.18 on Aug 20 following its announcement the previous day that the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (:USPTO) has granted a patent (U.S. Patent No. 8,809,313) to the company.

The patent covers the composition-of-matter and method of use claims for the company’s hepatitis C virus (:HCV) candidate, ACH-3102. The patent also covers structurally related NS5A inhibitors. The patent terms last until 2032.

Achillion’s shares jumped more than 9% last week after announcing positive results from a phase II study evaluating a ribavirin-free regimen of ACH-3102 in combination with Gilead’s (GILD) Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) for the treatment of patients suffering from treatment-naïve genotype 1 chronic HCV infection for eight weeks. Based on the results, Achillion intends to start a six-week treatment regimen of ACH-3102 and Sovaldi (read more: Achillion Pharmaceuticals Soars on Mid-Stage HCV Study Data).

Achillion has progressed well with its HCV candidates. Apart from ACH-3102, the company’s HCV pipeline also has ACH-3422 (phase I ongoing) and sovaprevir (phase II).

The HCV market is currently led by Gilead’s Sovaldi. Several other companies like Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK) and AbbVie Inc. (ABBV) are also developing candidates targeting the lucrative HCV market. In fact, the successful development of Achillion’s HCV candidates may well turn it to be an attractive acquisition target for these companies.

Achillion carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Gilead sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) is also worth considering.

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