Anadys Hepatitis C Drug Shows Early Sign of Viral-Killing Punch, Without Dreaded Rash

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to start testing patients on a higher dose. The initial group of patients took a 200 milligram oral pill twice a day, while the next group will advance to 400 milligram pills taken twice a day, Anadys said.

The San Diego biotech has been on a roller coaster this year. Investors who had written off the entire class of drugs that ANA598 belongs to suddenly got interested in January when Anadys showed encouraging results from its first few patients in a separate study. But that enthusiasm soured in April when the company said three healthy volunteers dropped out of a trial because of skin rashes (Anadys tried to explain that the patients dropped out only because they were healthy volunteers, and that the rash was mild enough that it wouldn’t really deter patients. But the damage to the company’s stock price was done.) With its stock in the tank and when partnership prospects dried up, Anadys resorted to layoffs, shelved a second drug candidate, and sold more stock at less-than-favorable terms just to give it a chance to stay in the game long enough to take a serious shot with the current ANA598 trial.

Anadys expects to parse out more morsels of data from this trial throughout 2010. The company is planning to release results before the end of March on how patients in the low-dose group did after 12 weeks of observation. It will then come out with the early snapshot of 28-day results from the higher dose group, and the 12-week observations on the higher dose group, sometime before the end of June, Anadys said.

Anadys is planning to host a conference call to discuss the results in greater detail with investors at 8:30 am Eastern time/5:30 am Pacific. A live webcast of the call, with slides, will be available at the Anadys company website.

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