If you are Vertex, Monday is looking to be a bright day to start the week.
This Monday (May 23rd), the FDA is expected to approve Vertex's telaprevir (Incivek) for the treatment of hepatitis C infection. This will allow them to start competing against Merck's newly approved boceprevir (Victrelis) for bragging rights. Merck received approval within the past weeks itself and just anounced it will team up with Roche to sell the new drug and cocktail treatments.
The industry anxiously is watching. Both drugs represent a big improvement (based on trial data) on the current standard of care for hepatitis C. Analysts are favoring the Vertex drug based on slightly better clinical results -- with cure rates in trials as high as 79%. Vertex could use the boost -- not only is it contending with Merck/Roche -- it needs to start recovering some of the $3.6 billion it shelled out to get Invcivek approved. Again, analysts think it could bring in as much as $1.5 billion in revenue by the end of 2012. The hepatitis C market is expected to grow as big as $10 billion globally.
Posted by Bruce Lehr May 20th 2011.