This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Idenix Hep C Fortunes Fade Fast

Stocks in this article: IDIX GILD BMY ACHN MRK

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. ( TheStreet) -- Idenix Pharmaceuticals (IDIX) shares fell 10% Monday after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration placed a second of the company's experimental hepatitis C drugs on clinical hold due to heart safety concerns.

Clinical development of both Idenix drugs -- IDX184 and now IDX19368 -- has been stopped because these hepatitis C "nucs" share structural similarities to Bristol-Myers Squibb's (BMY) BMS-094, which caused heart failure in nine patients, one of whom died.

None of the patients treated with Idenix's IDX184 have shown heart-related toxicity to date but the company is currently subjecting more than 50 patients treated with the drug to additional echocardiograms, per FDA's request. IDX19368 has not yet been tested in patients, the company said.

Idenix shares fell 61 cents, or 10%, to $5.51 in early Monday trading. The stock has not trading this low since October 2011.

One feels a tinge of sadness for the investors who purchased the 22 million shares of common stock sold by Idenix at $8 per share on Aug. 2. Bad luck. Bad timing.

It was only last January when Idenix shares pushed through $15, bolstered by the frenzy of hepatitis C acquisitions -- Gilead Sciences (GILD) buying Pharmasset for $11 billion and Bristol-Myers spending $2.5 billion to acquire Inhibitex.

Many Wall Street investors believed at that time that Idenix was the next hepatitis C takeout candidate, as evidenced by this buysiders poll taken by ISI Group analyst Mark Schoenebaum. Even I got caught up in the Idenix takeout speculation mania, tweeting about a conversation I had with a hepatitis C bull who predicted Merck (MRK) would buy Idenix for $3 billion.

Almost nine months later, Bristol has written off its disastrous Inhibitex purchase and Merck did not buy Idenix (thankfully, for them.) The hepatitis C M&A rumor mill has gone ice cold and rightly so. Even if Idenix gets FDA clearance to resume testing of IDX184 and IDX368, the company will more than likely need to move forward on its own without a partner. (The money just raised will come in handy.) Achillion Pharmaceuticals (ACHN) continues to wait at the altar, a groom nowhere in sight.

Meantime, Gilead continues to advance its hepatitis C nuc GS-7977 absent the concerns about cardiac toxicity. Gilead paid a hefty price for Pharmasset but in hindsight, the deal looks better and better. Not all hepatitis C "nucs" are the same, apparently.

--Written by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.



>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Adam Feuerstein.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/adamfeuerstein.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!

Markets

DOW 17,618.62 +261.75 1.51%
S&P 500 2,043.63 +30.74 1.53%
NASDAQ 4,719.1310 +74.8190 1.61%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs