A presentation from Idenix Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:IDIX) at the UBS Global Life Sciences conference Thursday did little to settle the nerves of IDIX investors who have watched the stock slide more than 35% since development of its lead HCV treatment IDX-184 was temporarily halted by the FDA last month. Meanwhile, a long position in Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) since mid-August has made for a handsome 18% return after the company’s HIV treatment, Stribild, was approved and the field of potential Hepatitis C (HCV) drugs narrowed substantially. An article from PropThink last month outlined the opportunity in Gilead’s HCV pipeline following the cancellation of Bristol-Myers Squibbs’ (NYSE:BMY) HCV product, BMS-98609, and the FDA’s hold on IDX-184. Although the approval of Stribild will help Gilead’s bottom-line, the company already plays a major role in the HIV market and Stribild sales are more likely to cannibalize on its own products than take new share of the market. More important for the company’s future are the HCV products that now face less competition in the race for approval. The company’s lead product in the segment, GS-7977, is in a Phase 3 trial and should report final data early next year, with Gilead’s six other HCV compounds, which are in Phase I and II development, following suit.
You can read more about the competition for new HCV drugs, and a recommended pair trade in the industry, in PropThink’s article from Wednesday.