Anadys Shares Climb on Updated Look at Hepatitis C Drug Trial

Xconomy San Diego — 

Anadys Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ANDS) is on the roller coaster again. The San Diego-based biotech company’s shares are up 17 percent this morning after it reported on another interim analysis of its hepatitis C clinical trial at a medical meeting in Europe.

Researchers found that 72 percent of patients who got Anadys’ experimental drug (ANA598) and standard therapies had undetectable amounts of the virus in their bloodstream after eight weeks, compared with 38 percent who did that well on a placebo in addition to the standard treatments. The drug was considered well-tolerated, researchers said. The findings were presented today at the European Association for the Study of the Liver meeting in Vienna, Austria.

Anadys has been rolling out the data from this trial in bits and pieces. Today’s slice of the data represents how patients did on a 400 milligram dose, while an earlier analysis showed how patients did on a 200 milligram dose. Investors balked at the earlier analysis of the 200 milligram dose, after Anadys saw an unusually high early response rate among patients in the placebo group. The whole clinical trial is designed to enroll 90 patients who are randomly assigned to get the low dose of the Anadys drug, a high dose, or a placebo. The main goal of the study is to show the drug is wiping out the virus for 12 weeks, although patients will also be followed longer to see if they have undetectable amounts of virus in the blood a full 24 weeks after they complete therapy, which is known as a “sustained viral response,” or a clinical cure.

Anadys shares climbed 18 percent to $3.08 at 10:46 am Eastern time today on heavy trading volume. The stock fell 12 percent back on February 25, after the company reported an earlier analysis which showed the high response rate among placebo patients.