The hepatitis C space is starting to look a lot like a soap opera with all the canoodling going on.
First Pharmasset (NAS: VRUS) , which is being purchased by Gilead Sciences (NAS: GILD) , partnered with Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYS: BMY) to test Pharmasset's PSI-7977 with Bristol's daclatasvir. Then Pharmasset started testing PSI-7977 with TMC435 from Johnson & Johnson (NYS: JNJ) .
And now, Bristol-Myers and Johnson & Johnson are hooking up. And you'll never guess which two molecules they're planning on testing together: daclatasvir and TMC435, the same ones that are being tested individually with Pharmasset's drug. Bristol-Myers and Johnson & Johnson plan to test the two drugs on their own and in combination with one or both parts of the current standard of treatment, ribavirin and pegylated-interferon sold by Merck (NYS: MRK) and Roche.
Cocktails of multiple oral drugs are the future of hepatitis C treatment. It wouldn't surprise me, though, if the companies wait and see how the data from the three individual pairs turns out before trying to work out the details of what a three-way partnership would look like.
The fact that Pharmasset, Bristol, and Johnson & Johnson are so hot on each others' drugs doesn't bode well for others developing hepatitis C drugs, such as Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NAS: VRTX) and Inhibitex (NAS: INHX) .
Stay tuned in as the hepatitis C world turns by adding the companies to your watchlist. You can add them all to your free My Watchlist by clicking here or add them individually below.
- Add Pharmasset to My Watchlist.
- Add Vertex Pharmaceuticals to My Watchlist.
- Add Merck to My Watchlist.
- Add Johnson & Johnson to My Watchlist.
- Add Inhibitex to My Watchlist.
- Add Gilead Sciences to My Watchlist.
- Add Bristol-Myers Squibb to My Watchlist.
At the time this article was published Fool contributor Brian Orelli holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Johnson & Johnson. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Gilead Sciences, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, and Johnson & Johnson. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a diagonal call position in Johnson & Johnson. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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