John’s a very smart guy, and follows the ongoing Hep C battles pretty closely. So it is gratifying to see his take as a slightly-delayed mirror of mine, on Whitehouse Station’s weekend MK-5172 press announcements, of interim Phase Ib study successes, in a small data-set.
I will remain hopeful that — as Merck pours more and more of its vast cash flow into a now highly-accelerated FDA approvability study — for MK 5172, it might close the distance it is behind Gilead, to under a one year. But I won’t bet the ranch on it, either. Here’s a bit — from that FierceBiotech report, for leisurely reading, over your “fall-back” (extra sleep — yum!) Sunday morning coffee:
. . . .The data are good, but Merck–which picked up the FDA’s breakthrough designation for the combo approach just days ago–is also far back in a field dominated by some impressive late-stage contenders. Gilead is leading this race with sofosbuvir, which has been endorsed by an internal review as well as an independent agency panel, with combo treatments being hustled along as Bristol-Myers Squibb and AbbVie race to get into the act. . . .
As ever, do stay tuned. Much to cheer, here — with all oral cures becoming available for Hep C. And lots of interesting NYSE bets to make, with much more going on behind the scenes, in the Hep C space, now. Keep your eyes peeled, folks. The ground in that market is shifting — under all prior investors’ feet. My openly-disclosed bet now, is long on Gilead; short on Vertex (in the near term, at least). So it goes.