Market analysts have projected that sales of products that are newly on the market or in late phase clinicals to treat hepatitis C could have worldwide sales in excess of $20 B by 2020. That's a big number! See Pharmalot.
So it is easy to see why more deals are happening in this area with a few more possibilities looming. In just the past few weeks and months, Gilead bought Pharmasset for its PSI-7977 therapy for $11 B. BMS followed suit to buy Inhibitex for its phase I hepatitis C drug for an impressive $2.5 B - a startling sum for a phase I compound that is still years from the market. Both acquiring companies are trying to introduce an oral hepatitis C treatment that does NOT rely on interferon (and its well described side-effects). See Fierce Biotech and PharmaGossip.
Now Merck is rumored to be a leading suitor to buy perhaps, Achillion for its hepatitis C treatments. This would add to Merck's newly approved Victrellis and its mid-stage drug MK-5172 still in development. Merck also had previously announced a collaboration with Roche.
Said Merck's Roger Pomeranz at a recent JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, "Our goal is to be a leader in hepatitis C, and we will do what it takes to get there." Merck is ready to do small or larger deals to rapidly build its position. See Fierce Biotech.
The Game is On.
Posted by Bruce Lehr Jan 10th 2012.