Xconomy Report: More Hope for Hep C

By Xconomy.com

Feb. 24, 2012


Companies are squaring off to corner the hepatitis medication market. (Food and Drug Administration)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The battle for hepatitis C drug market dominance rages on locally. Vertex Pharmaceuticals last year won FDA approval for its hepatitis drug Telaprevir, which doubled the cure rate to 80 percent and cut treatment time in half. Now Vertex has released promising data from a small clinical trial that included the new pill in a cocktail of drugs that should be easier to take and cause fewer side effects than current treatments. Meanwhile, Watertown-based Enanta Pharmaceuticals inked a lucrative partnership with Novartis to codevelop yet another experimental hepatitis C drug.
In other innovation news, a couple of business education projects have emerged. Intelligently is a community space in the South End where techies and business people can take professional development classes. And Boston Startup School is a six-week crash course for college grads interested in entrepreneurship.
And in deals by the numbers, Cambridge-based Zipcar is leading a $13.7 million investment in West Coast car-sharing startup Wheelz; fellow Cambridge company Satori Pharmaceuticals snapped up $15 million in venture capital to combat Alzheimer’s disease; and Lexington’s FirstFuel Software raised $10 million in a deal that suggests funding for energy efficiency is on the rise.

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