BMS completes Inhibitex deal

 Bristol-Myers Squibb has completed its $2.5 billion cash acquisition of biopharmaceutical company Inhibitex, Inc.

The deal includes Inhibitex’s lead compound nucleotide polymerase (NS5B) inhibitor INX-189 for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C and continues BMS’ approach to drug development.

Lamberto Andreotti, Chief Executive Officer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, said the deal “represents an important investment in the long-term growth of the company” when it was first announced last month.

The company’s ‘string of pearls’ strategy has seen it merge, partner or acquire a host of companies focusing on products in its core therapeutic areas since 2007.

Nucleotide polymerase (NS5B) inhibitor INX-189 is currently in Phase II trials in combination with pegylated interferon and ribavirin for chronic hepatitis C.

Analysts have predicted pharma companies will receive billion dollar sales for a number of hepatitis C therapies currently in development. The industry has also been given a much needed boost recently by the approval of new oral therapies including Merck & Co’s Victrelis (boceprevir) and J&J, Vertex Pharmaceuticals and Mitsubishi Tanabe’s Incivek/Incivo (telaprevir).

In December 2011, BMS entered into an alliance with Johnson & Johnson’s Tibotec for the development of an all-oral combination therapy based on BMS’ daclatasvir and Tibotec’s NS3 protease inhibitor TMC435. Phase II trials of the combination are planned to start later this year.