News from Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT) on its positive Phase II study results from two different interferon-free hepatitis C treatment has the entire drug sector up in arms as it pertains to Hepatitis C drugs. The 91%, 93%, and 95% response rates that were initially seen in the report were more than impressive. The news is spooking investors in other Hepatitis C drug players as you can see:
Rigel Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: RIGL) has a study under way and its shares are down 4% at $7.95.
Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) has already taken it on the chin once and maybe it should feel lucky that its drop is only 1% at $47.61 so far today.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: VRTX) is down 1.5% at $41.17 on the day.
Idenix Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: IDIX) is the worst of the lot that we have seen with a drop of 14.4% at $8.75.
Investors over the longer-term should be reminded that unless Abbott is allowed to skip a lot of the testing that it could still be quite some time before its Hepatitis C treatment even comes up for the traditional FDA approval process. We are nearly in mid-2012 already, and that could put the time frame out to 2014 or even longer.
JON C. OGG