Monday, December 27, 2010

Time to Buy InterMune (ITMN)?

Gilead Sciences Inc. (Nasdaq: GILD) just announced that it is halting it's Phase III clinical trial of ambrisentan dubbed ARTEMIS-IPF.   Ambrisentan was a drug candidate for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).  GILD cited lack of efficacy as the reason for stopping the trial. 

IPF is a condition that results in thickening and scarring of lung tissue.  There is actually a change in the type of tissue of the lung.  This causes less oxygen and gases to be transferred within the lungs.  Therefore, the body receives less oxygen, especially the brain.  The cause of IPF is unknown (idiopathic means that the cause is unknown).  IPF affects nearly 200,000 patients in the US.  Currently, there are no drugs that effectively treat or cure IPF.  Physicians prescribe drugs that treat the symptoms or stabilize the disease. Source: Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation

The FDA recently approved InterMune's (Nasdaq: ITMN) Esbriet (pirfenidone) for the treatment of IPF. The drug was also approved in the EU.  This is the first drug that effectively treats IPF.  It is likely that pirfenidone will become the standard of care for IPF as other treatment options are not ideal.   ITMN recently surged on news of positive results and should get another boost on the bad news from GILD as this eliminates some serious competition. 

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