Clinical Hold on Achillion's (ACHN) Sovaprevir 'Looks Resolvable' - Leerink Swann

July 2, 2013 10:39 AM EDT
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Price: $4.11 -2.14%

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    14 Buy, 3 Hold, 2 Sell

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    Up: 35 | Down: 31 | New: 11
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Leerink Swann today maintained an Outperform rating on Achillion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ACHN) with a price target of $14.00. Shares of Achillion declined on news the FDA placed a clinical hold on sovaprevir due to grade 3/4 liver enzyme elevations seen in a drug-druginteraction (DDI) study in combination with HIV drugs atazanavir and ritonavir.

Commenting, analyst Howard Liang said the issue looks resolvable.

"While the ultimate concern is a safety, we see the clinical hold as mainly a drug-drug interaction issue rather than a safety concern as the patients in the DDI study had plasma concentrations of drug far higher (350x and 50x higher) than seen at the 200mg and 400mg doses used in the 007 combination study, suggesting a wide safety margin. While a 40x increase in exposure of sovaprevir when dosed with atazanavir / ritonavir is concerning and likely to lead to a contraindication for the co-administration, we see the key task for ACHN to be able to clearly define the population at risk which does not appear especially large as 7 other DDI studies with sovaprevir have not shown a problem," said Liang.

"We see ACH-3102 as the more important asset in ACHN's portfolio, and we believe there are other ways of moving ACH-3102 forward including external collaborations and eventually internal combination with ACHN's nuc ACH-3422, even if the clinical hold on sovaprevir is not resolved," added the analyst.

For an analyst ratings summary and ratings history on Achillion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ACHN) click here. For more ratings news on Achillion Pharmaceuticals click here.

Shares of Achillion Pharmaceuticals closed at $8.36 yesterday.

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