Roche believes ownership of danoprevir will speed development of combination therapies.

Roche is paying InterMune $175 million to acquire full worldwide development and commercialization rights to the Phase II-stage hepatitis C (HCV) drug, danoprevir (RG7227/ITMN-191). The firms had been co-developing the protease inhibitor under an agreement signed in 2006. Danoprevir is in Phase II clinical development both as monotherapy and in combination with Pegasys (pegylated interferon alfa-2a) and Copegus (ribavirin).

“Danoprevir has demonstrated strong early clinical efficacy even in difficult-to-treat patient populations,” states Dan Zabrowski, global head of Roche partnering. “Having full ownership of danoprevir increases our ability to rapidly develop combinations of our own hepatitis C compounds with molecules from other companies to maximize patient benefit.”

Roche’s existing marketed products for HCV include Roferon-A (interferon alfa 2a) and Pegasys (pegylated interferon alfa 2a), which is the standard of care for the disease, the firm claims. A nucleoside polymerase inhibitor, RG7128, is currently in Phase IIb trials for treating chronic HCV infection. RG7128 is being developed in partnership with Pharmasset.

Pegasys was Roche’s fourth best-selling pharmaceutical in the first six months of 2010 (to June 30), achieving sales of CHF 869 million (about $891 million), up 5% on the same period last year in local currencies, and representing 4% of the firm’s overall pharmaceutical sales.

Previous articleNovartis Teams with Synthetic Genomics Vaccines to Develop Flu Seed Virus Banks
Next articleGeneGo and GenomeQuest Combine Tools for Analyzing NGS Data in Terms of Pathways