Shares of Achillion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ACHN) jumped almost 20% in trading on February 9th after the company announced positive interim data results for its hepatitis C drug ACH-3102. After six weeks of treatment, the data showed the drug cured 100% of the patients in testing when used in combination with Gilead Sciences’ (NASDAQ: GILD) Sovaldi. However, only twelve patients were included in the trial.
In the Phase 2 trial, the company combined 50 mg of ACH-3102 with 400 mg of Gilead’s Sovaldi, which was given to patients with untreated genotype 1 hepatitis C virus.
Lead Investigator in the Phase 2 study of ACH-3102 and sofosbuvir (Sovaldi) Professor Edward Gane, M.D. commented on the results, saying “The ability to further shorten treatment duration to only six weeks and maintain excellent SVR12 rates remains the goal for clinicians and patients, and I am pleased that these Phase 2 results support that goal. The profile of ACH-3102, represents an important and exciting treatment option to shorten treatment duration for patients infected with HCV.”
The next phase of testing will test whether the treatment has a continued virological response 12 weeks after the completion of treatment and evaluate “four- and six-week treatment durations that leverage all of [the company’s] (hepatitis C) assets including ACH-3102, ACH-3422 and sovaprevir,” as stated by Achillion CEO Milind Deshpande. If the results are positive, Achillion Pharmaceuticals ACH-3102 will directly compete with AbbVie’s (NYSE: ABBV) Viekira Pak, which has proven to cure the virus in twelve weeks, and Gilead Sciences Harvoni, which have proven to cure the virus in eight weeks.
Cowen & Co. analyst Phil Nadeau weighed in on Achillion Pharmaceuticals on February 9th following the company’s ACH-3102 Interim Data announcement maintaining an Outperform rating on the stock, according to SmarterAnalyst. The analyst noted, “While the number of patients in the Achillion trial is small, the patients do not seem to be particularly easy to treat. Therefore, while the experience is limited, ACH-3102 + Sovaldi [have] generated the best data thus far for a two drug regimen. This suggests that ACH-3102 is perhaps the most potent NS5A inhibitor in development or on the market.” The analyst added, “It is also fair to say that Sovaldi is the major workhorse of the Sovaldi + ACH-3102 regimen. In order to build a wholly-owned commercially competitive regimen, Achillion will need a safe and effective nuc.”
Phil Nadeau has rated Achillion Pharmaceuticals three times since August 2014, earning a 100% success rate recommending the company and a +35.7% average return per recommendation. Overall, Nadeau has a 61% success rate recommending stocks and a +15.0% average return per recommendation.
Similarly on February 9th, Maxim Group analyst Jason Kolbert reiterated a Buy rating on Achillion Pharmaceuticals with a price target of $22, according to SmarterAnalyst. Kolbert noted, “As we have stated previously it looks like Achillion has a viable nucleoside & we know they have a viable NS5A (probably best in class), together they equal High SVR’s with short treatment duration. With end of year cash ~$100M, we remain positive and consistent with our very bullish investment thesis.”
Jason Kolbert has rated Achillion Pharmaceuticals nine times since July 2013, earning a 71% success rate recommending the stock and a +52.5% average return per recommendation. Overall, Kolbert has a 41% success rate recommending stocks and a +3.3% average return per recommendation.