Just days ago Merck received word that its new hepatitis C drug boceprevir (Victrelis) was approved. It indicated it would get busy marketing the product before Vertex recieves similar approval later this month. Today, Merck announced a co-marketing/selling deal with Roche to sell boceprevir and Roche's Pegasys interferon. The companies are looking to develop a new cocktail treatment using both products.
Thus Merck and Roche have teamed up to get a jump on Vertex in the race toward market share for the new hepatitis C drugs and the expected $3 billion to $10 billion market. This is particularly important perhaps as many observers think the Vertex drug (telaprevir or Incivek) is superior to Victrelis. It will be interesting to see how this plays out with two Big Pharma powers selling the latter with a slight head start and clear pipeline to hepatitis specialists. Vertex does have its own marketing partner in J&J for selling its product outside the US. See Fierce Biotech and the Pharmalot blog.
Posted by Bruce Lehr May 17th 2011.