Anadys Rockets 115% on Hep C Data

Anadys hopes positive data for its hepatitis C drug will attract a deep-pocketed partner to fund further development.
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Updated from 11:43 a.m. EST

Anadys Pharmaceuticals

(ANDS)

released the first antiviral activity data on its lead hepatitis C drug Thursday, which the company hopes will attract a deep-pocketed partner to fund further development.

Eight patients with hepatitis C treated with a twice-daily dose of the drug ANA598 reported a median reduction of more than 99% in the level of virus after three days of treatment, the company said.

None of the patients in the study reported a rebound in their viral loads while taking the drug and there were no serious adverse events reported. The interim results come from an ongoing phase Ib study of ANA598 -- the first study in which the drug is being tested in patients infected with hepatitis C.

Anadys CEO Steven Worland heralded the early data on ANA598, calling the magnitude of the viral load drop shown by ANA598 greater than what's been reported by any other competing drug in its class.

ANA598 is what is known as a non-nucleoside polymerase inhibitor. These drugs act directly against specific enzymes to prevent the hepatitis C virus from making copies of itself. That's different from current treatments for hepatitis C, namely long-acting forms of interferon and a drug called ribavirin, which work by stimulating the body's immune system to destroy the virus.

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

,

Gilead Sciences

(GILD) - Get Report

and

Merck

(MRK) - Get Report

also are working on non-nucleoside polymerase inhibitors for hepatitis C.

Anadys shares fell below $2 at the end of 2008 in part because the company, with about $25 million to $27 million in the bank, needs to raise money. Worland says the company's goal is to use the new data on ANA598 to attract a corporate partner that will pour money into the company and help fund future studies of the drug.

Anadys intends to continue testing higher doses of ANA598 in the ongoing phase Ib study while it completes animal toxicity studies the company needs before starting longer combination studies of the drug in hepatitis C patients.

Anadys shares soared Thursday, ending the trading session up 114.7% to $2.19.

At the time of publication, Feuerstein's Biotech Select model portfolio was long Gilead Sciences.

Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet.com. In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet.com. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback;

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