What a difference two years can make. Once riding high on its groundbreaking hepatitis C treatment Incivek, Vertex Pharmaceuticals ($VRTX) is now cutting 370 jobs to pivot away from the lagging drug and concentrate on its burgeoning cystic fibrosis franchise.
What happened? A new wave of hepatitis C treatments, led by Gilead Sciences’ ($GILD) sofosbuvir. Heartily backed by an FDA advisory panel Friday, sofosbuvir is first in a class of treatments aimed at shortening hep C treatment, boosting its effectiveness and easing its notorious side effects. The coming all-oral drug cocktails will shut out interferon–and shunt Incivek aside.