Anadys hepatitis C drug shows promise, shares jump Print E-mail
By Wire Reports   
Tuesday, 11 August 2009 13:39
Anadys Pharmaceuticals Inc (Nasdaq:ANDS) said its experimental oral hepatitis C drug showed promise in an early-stage trial, sending its shares up as much as 28 percent.

The drug ANA773 was tested in a trial that evaluated safety and tolerability and viral load decline, a measure of the severity of a viral infection, and other measures of immune response, Anadys said.

Anadys, which suspended development of ANA773 in June to focus on its lead hepatitis C drug, ANA598, plans to seek partnership opportunities to continue development of ANA773.

"With this data in hand, Anadys is positioned to find a partner who has the capital and the resources to continue the clinical development of ANA773," ThinkEquity LLC analyst Jason Kolbert said by phone.

Kolbert said major hepatitis C drugmakers, including Roche Holding AG and Schering-Plough, make the most attractive companies to partner ANA773 because the development of the program will take a long time.

Kolbert, who upgraded Anadys shares to "buy" from "accumulate," said this program adds $1 of incremental value to Anadys story, and raised his price target to $4 from $3.

"This is the only immunomodulator in development and so when we look at the hepatitis C paradigm, we believe that a drug like ANA773 when combined with specifically targeted antiviral therapy for hepatitis C (STAT-C) can help achieve the elimination of interferon," he said.

STAT-C uses a more direct approach than interferon-based therapies by targeting the hepatitis C virus, while interferon, which is the current standard of care treatment for hepatitis C, works by modifying the immune system.

"ANA773 has demonstrated a significant short-term antiviral response in HCV patients, comparable to many historical reports of interferon as a single agent," Anadys Chief Executive Steve Worland said in a statement.

Last month, U.S. health regulators cleared the parameters for a mid-stage study of Anadys' lead hepatitis C drug, ANA598. [ID:nBNG445649]

Shares of the company touched a high of $3.06 before paring some gains and were up 10 percent at $2.61 in late morning trade on Nasdaq.

(Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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