This post by Ryan McBride came from the Xconomy blog. It recounts history of telaprevir -- Vertex Pharmaceuticals' treatment for hepatitis C -- as it nears approval. Analysts project that it could have sales in excess of $2 B per year if it does get market approval.
It turns out that Lilly helped develop the drug in its early days (late 90's) but gave up all its rights to the drug in December 2002. Is Lilly regretting the decision? I doubt it. This scenario must have played out many times within the drug industry. You are always placing some bets when deciding which compounds to take forward.
Sometimes you get the Bear. Sometimes the Bear gets you. I'm sure Lilly has had other successes with projects that it has taken forward. One never knows what trade offs have to be made internally to bring one candidate or another forward. Besides, Lilly didn't have all the development costs for this product over the past 8 years either - while Vertex has a reported $2.8 B into the drug. It's just another day in the life of the drug business. Turn the page and move to the next project.
Posted by Bruce Lehr August 4th 2010.