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Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ACHN)'s Hepatitis C Drug Gets FDA Fast Track


5/15/2012 8:02:29 AM

NEW HAVEN, Conn., May 15, 2012 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX) -- Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. /quotes/zigman/100395/quotes/nls/achn ACHN +2.32% announced today the receipt of a Fast Track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for ACH-3102 as part of an interferon-free regimen for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C (HCV). ACH-3102 is a pan-genotypic second-generation NS5A inhibitor against HCV that was discovered by Achillion and is currently being evaluated in a Phase 1 clinical trial.

Fast Track designation was requested for ACH-3102 for its potential to provide:

-- Improved safety as compared to the current standard of care;

-- Potential for development in a once daily interferon-free fixed dose combination;

-- Potent antiviral activity in vitro against HCV genotypes 1 through 6; and

-- Low potential for drug-drug interactions and therefore greater potential to treat HCV patients with comorbidities, co-infected with HIV, or pre- or post-liver transplantation.

ACH-3102 is a structurally distinct small molecule compound that has demonstrated potent inhibition of the NS5A protein across all genotypes of HCV in preclinical studies. Furthermore, the unique chemical structure of ACH-3102 has resulted in enhanced potency in vitro against resistant mutants that have emerged during clinical studies with first generation NS5A inhibitors.

"We are very pleased with the granting of a Fast Track designation for ACH-3102, which we believe highlights this second-generation NS5A inhibitor's attributes that include pan-genotypic coverage of HCV and potential for maintained activity against NS5A mutant strains of HCV," commented Michael Kishbauch, President and Chief Executive Officer of Achillion. "We are excited to leverage the superior profile of ACH-3102 in combination with our Phase 2 protease inhibitor, ACH-1625, as we seek to create an optimized, potentially best-in-class potent, well-tolerated, once-daily regimen to treat HCV, which will enter combination studies during the third quarter of this year."

Under the FDA Modernization Act of 1997, the Fast Track program facilitates interactions with the FDA before and during the submission of a New Drug Application (NDA) for therapeutics being investigated as a treatment of serious or life-threatening diseases which demonstrate the potential to address an unmet medical need for such a condition. The Fast Track program enables a company to file an NDA on a rolling basis as data becomes available. This permits the FDA to review the filing as it is received, rather than waiting for the entire document prior to commencing the review process. With a Fast Track designation, there is an opportunity for more frequent interactions with the FDA and the possibility of a priority review, which could decrease the typical development time and review period.

About NS5A Inhibitors and ACH-3102

The NS5A protein is a clinically validated target that serves multiple functions at various stages of the HCV life cycle including involvement in virion production, interaction with host proteins and association with interferon-resistance. ACH-3102, Achillion's second generation NS5A inhibitor, has demonstrated potent activity against all HCV genotypes in vitro and in preclinical studies achieved additive to synergistic activity when combined with NS3 protease inhibitors, NS5B polymerase inhibitors, interferon and ribavirin. ACH-3102 is a structurally distinct small molecule compound that has demonstrated potent inhibition of the NS5A protein across all genotypes of HCV in preclinical studies. Furthermore, the unique chemical structure of ACH-3102 has resulted in enhanced potency in vitro against resistant mutants that have emerged during clinical studies with first generation NS5A inhibitors.

About HCV

The hepatitis C virus is the most common cause of viral hepatitis, which is an inflammation of the liver. It is currently estimated that more than 170 million people are infected with HCV worldwide including more than 5 million people in the United States, more than twice as widespread as HIV. Three-fourths of the HCV patient population is undiagnosed; it is a silent epidemic and a major global health threat. Chronic hepatitis, if left untreated, can lead to permanent liver damage that can result in the development of liver cancer, liver failure or death. Few therapeutic options currently exist for the treatment of HCV infection. The current standard of care is limited by its specificity for certain types of HCV, significant side-effect profile, and injectable route of administration.

About Achillion Pharmaceuticals

Achillion is an innovative pharmaceutical company dedicated to bringing important new treatments to patients with infectious disease. Achillion's proven discovery and development teams have advanced multiple product candidates with novel mechanisms of action. Achillion is focused on solutions for the most challenging problems in infectious disease including HCV and resistant bacterial infections. For more information on Achillion Pharmaceuticals, please visit www.achillion.com or call 1-203-624-7000.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements, including statements with respect to: the potency, safety, tolerability, effectiveness and other characteristics of Achillion's ACH-1625 and ACH-3102; Achillion's expectations regarding timing for the commencement, completion and reporting of results of clinical trials of drug candidates including ACH-1625 and ACH-3102; and Achillion's ability to advance a potentially best-in-class all-oral, interferon-free combination of ACH-1625 and ACH-3102. Among the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements are risks relating to, among other things Achillion's ability to: replicate in later clinical trials positive results found in earlier stage nonclinical studies and clinical trials of ACH-1625 and ACH-3102; advance the development of its drug candidates under the timelines it anticipates in current and future clinical trials; obtain necessary regulatory approvals; obtain patent protection for its drug candidates and the freedom to operate under third party intellectual property; establish commercial manufacturing arrangements; identify, enter into and maintain collaboration agreements with appropriate third-parties; compete successfully with other companies that are seeking to develop improved therapies for the treatment of HCV; manage expenses; and raise the substantial additional capital needed to achieve its business objectives. These and other risks are described in the reports filed by Achillion with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011 and its subsequent SEC filings.

In addition, any forward-looking statement in this press release represents Achillion's views only as of the date of this press release and should not be relied upon as representing its views as of any subsequent date. Achillion disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statement, except as required by applicable law.

This news release was distributed by GlobeNewswire, www.globenewswire.com

SOURCE: Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

CONTACT: Company Contact:

Glenn Schulman

Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Tel. (203) 624-7000

gschulman@achillion.com

Investors:

Mary Kay Fenton

Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Tel. (203) 624-7000

mfenton@achillion.com

Media:

Christin Culotta Miller

Ogilvy PR

Tel. (212) 880-5264

Christin.Miller@Ogilvy.com



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