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Reuters Health Information (2012-09-25): Vertex ends work on one hepatitis C drug, continues another

Drug & Device Development

Vertex ends work on one hepatitis C drug, continues another

Last Updated: 2012-09-25 12:30:06 -0400 (Reuters Health)

(Reuters) - Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc said on Tuesday it will discontinue development of an experimental drug to treat hepatitis C virus after it failed to show sufficient efficacy to warrant further study.

The company said seven days of dosing with up to 900 mg of the adenosine nucleotide analogue pro-drug ALS-2158 was well-tolerated in people with genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C, but that there was "insufficient antiviral activity to warrant proceeding with further clinical development."

The company, which was developing ALS-2158 with partner Alios BioPharma Inc, said it will continue development of another experimental hepatitis C drug, ALS-2200, after it showed promise in an early trial.

ALS-2200 is a uridine nucleotide analogue pro-drug that appears to have a high barrier to drug resistance based on in vitro studies, the company said. It is designed to inhibit the replication of the hepatitis C virus by acting on the NS5B polymerase.

In vitro studies of the compound showed antiviral activity across all genotypes of the hepatitis C virus, including those more prevalent outside of the United States, the company said.

Vertex said it is planning one phase II trial of ALS-2200 in combination with the drug ribavirin and one trial to evaluate ALS-2200 in combination with the company's existing drug Incivek (telaprevir).

Vertex acquired worldwide rights to ALS-2200 through a licensing agreement it signed with Alios in June 2011.

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