Gilead, Idenix Slug it Out (GILD, IDIX)

When biotech company Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) made a deal last month to acquire Pharmasett for $11 billion, no thought it would pay off so soon. Especially the folks at Idenix Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: IDIX).

Gilead used its conference call last night to reveal that Pharmasett’s hepatitis C drug, now called GS-7977, when used in combination with ribavirin eliminated all symptoms of a certain type of hepatitis C in just four weeks.

Idenix, meanwhile, reported that the US FDA had lifted a partial hold on trials of the company’s hepatitis C drug, dubbed IDX184. That news momentarily lifted the stock, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Gilead story.

Gilead’s shares are up nearly 10% today, at $54.22 after posting a new 52-week high of $54.77 earlier. Idenix shares are down nearly -13% at $11.48 in a 52-week range of $2.67-$15.25.

The race to be first to market with a hepatitis C drug now has Gilead ahead in the backstretch.

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