No Surprises Here — Vertex’s Hep C Drug Incivek® Preferred — Over Merck’s


Even as Senator Grassley quite appropriately asks the SEC to take a look at the trading in VRTX stock prior to the “correction” of an error in Vertex’s study results (an issue which will not affect whether, or the rate at which, physicians prescribe Incivek®), we see more data confirming what the sales figures have already declared (file graphic at right).

Legacy Schering-Plough Ex-CEO Fred Hassan’s telaprevir, the “would-be, but never-wassavior drug (for his regime), branded as Victrelis®, is a pale “me too” therapy candidate — when compared to Vertex’s market leader. There exists a smallish subset of the Hep C patient population whose treatment will be better served by Victrelis, but the vast bulk of the patient population will receive Vertex’s drug — for the following reasons — according to The Pharma Letter, this morning:

. . . .The 100 physicians (gastroenterologists, hepatologists and infectious disease specialists) included in this survey report significantly higher satisfaction with Incivek over Victrelis. Furthermore, physicians perceive that Incivek significantly outperforms Victrelis on the top four most important attributes of “high SVR in genotype 1s,” “high SVR in treatment naïve patients,” “high SVR in prior treatment failures” and “supported by clinical data.” Although both PIs outperform dual therapy on the risk-benefit ratio, Incivek is ranked significantly better than Victrelis in terms of benefits of treatment outweighing the associated risks. . . .

If it is true (as Ed Silverman has heard, from the company) that most executives sold under long-ago established 10b-5(1) plans, those executives ought to be in the clear — so long as they didn’t recently alter the metrics under which essentially automated sell orders are generated. That is the whole purpose of such plans.

If, on the other hand, it is shown (with convincing evidence) that the non-plan Vertex executives knew of the study “error” when they sold Vertex stock, the full force of the securities laws should drop right on top of their little houses — but if not, then we should all move along.

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