Acquisition will give BMS clinical pipeline of nucleotide/nucleoside analogs.

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) is buying anti-infectives firm Inhibitex for an aggregate of about $2.5 billion in cash. The $26 per share deal has been approved by both boards, and major shareholders have already agreed to support the transaction and tender their shares in a tender offer. Inhibitex is focused primarily on developing nucleotide/nucleoside analogs for treating HCV. Lead candidate INX-189 is an oral phosphoramidate nucleotide analog targeting the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (NS5b) of HCV, which is in Phase II development.

“The addition of Inhibitex’ nucleotide polymerase inhibitor to our own promising portfolio, which includes other direct antivirals, brings additional options to develop all-oral regimens with better cure rates, shorter duration of therapy, and lower toxicity than the current standard of care,” comments Elliott Sigal, M.D., evp, CSO, and president of R&D at BMS.

Inhibitex initiated a 90-patient Phase II trial in September 2011 to evaluate INX-189 combined with pegylated interferon and ribavirin in treatment naïve, chronic HCV-infected genotype 2 and 3 patients. During November the firm separately reported top-line safety and antiviral data from an ongoing Phase Ib extension trial of INX-189 administered as monotherapy or in combination with ribavirin in treatment-naïve patients infected with chronic HCV genotype 1.

The firm’s clinical pipeline also includes a Phase II-stage bicyclic nucleoside analogue therapy for shingles, FV100, and the two Phase II-stage antibacterial candidates Aurexis®, targeting S. aureus infections, and a Staphylococcus vaccine, which is partnered with Pfizer. Aurexis is a humanized monoclonal antibody targeting clumping factor A, which is expressed by virtually all strains of S. aureus

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