Bristol-Myers ends hepatitis C drug development

August 24, 2012

(AP)—Drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. has scrapped a potential hepatitis C treatment after a patient participating in a test of the drug died of heart failure.

The New York company said Thursday that it decided to discontinue development of the drug, labeled BMS-986094, in the interest of .

The patient's prompted Bristol-Myers to voluntarily suspend a mid-stage study of the drug on Aug 1. The U.S. subsequently placed the drug on a clinical hold.

"The decision to halt development of BMS-986094 has been guided by our overriding interest in protecting patients," Elliott Sigal, Bristol-Myers' chief scientific officer, said in a statement.

Nine patients, including the one who died, were hospitalized. Two remain under hospital care, the company said.

Bristol-Myers said it hasn't definitively established what caused patients to become ill, but identified heart and kidney toxicity as a key factor.

The company said it is working with the FDA to monitor the patients involved in the study. It also said it would continue to investigate the potential cause of the drug's toxicity.

can prove fatal to experimental drugs. The FDA has been focusing more on those risks since & Co. took its painkiller Vioxx off the market several years ago after a study showed the drug doubled the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Bristol Myers has been pushing to become a player in the drug market, which is expected to grow as baby boomers get older.

The discontinued drug was one of two main potential hepatitis C treatments from Bristol-Myers that investors are focused on. The other is a compound labeled daclatasvir that has started late-stage testing, the last step before drugmakers submit a product to regulators for approval.

Bristol-Myers acquired BMS-986094 and some other potential treatments as part of a $2.5 billion acquisition of drug developer Inhibitex Inc. it completed earlier this year.

Hepatitis C is a virus that can lead to life-threatening liver damage and is the main cause of liver transplants in the United States. Analysts say the market for treatments is potentially lucrative for drugmakers. More people are expected to be diagnosed with the tough-to-treat disease as the baby boomer generation ages.

After a two-decade drought, the first two new hepatitis C drugs were approved last year: Victrelis from Merck & Co. and Incivek from Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Johnson & Johnson. Both significantly improve the cure rate over what has long been the standard of care, a mix of injections and pills with nasty, flu-like side effects that takes several months and still doesn't cure many patients.

' shares tumbled when it first announced earlier this month that it was suspending its trial of the C drug. In aftermarket trading Thursday, they added 5 cents to $32.20. The stock ended the regular trading session up 34 cents at $32.15.

Explore further: Bristol-Myers Squibb to buy Inhibitex for $2.5 billion

shares

Related Stories

Bristol-Myers Squibb to buy Inhibitex for $2.5 billion

January 8, 2012
Pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb Company announced it was acquiring Inhibitex, Inc., a company specializing in treatment of hepatitis C, for $2.5 billion (1.9 billion euros).

Bristol-Myers to buy diabetes drug maker for $5B

July 1, 2012
(AP) — Drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. says it agreed to buy diabetes drug maker Amylin Pharmaceuticals for about $5 billion in cash.

FDA questions safety of experimental diabetes drug

July 15, 2011
(AP) -- Federal health regulators have concerns about bladder and breast cancer seen in patients taking an experimental diabetes pill from Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca.

Recommended for you

Data revealed under FOI shows benefits of multiple sclerosis drug currently blocked by regulators

August 17, 2017
A drug that is blocked by the EU regulatory system has now been found to improve the quality of life of people with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

Opioids overused in migraine treatment, regardless of race, study finds

August 17, 2017
African-Americans are more likely to experience debilitating migraine headaches than whites, but a new study probing the issue found no evidence of racial disparities in treatment practices.

Finding better ways to reduce serious drug side effects

August 14, 2017
Many of the medicines we depend on to treat disease—and even to save our lives—pose potentially serious risks along with their benefits. Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that about ...

Ultrasound-triggered liposomes for on-demand, local anesthesia

August 10, 2017
Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have found a new way to non-invasively relieve pain at local sites in the body; such systems could one day improve pain management by replacing addictive opioids and short-lasting ...

Independent pharmacies and online coupons help patients save money on drugs

August 8, 2017
Uninsured patients or those with limited prescription drug coverage can save significant money by buying their drugs at independent pharmacies instead of big box, grocery or chain drug stores and by using discount coupons, ...

New study generates more accurate estimates of state opioid and heroin fatalities

August 7, 2017
Although opioid and heroin deaths have been rising dramatically in the U.S., the magnitude of the epidemic varies from state to state, as does the relative proportion of opioid vs heroin poisonings. Further complicating the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.