TRANSGENE Won't Sign TG4040 Partnership Soon, CEO Says

Published: Feb 08, 2013

Transgene SA is reviewing the strategy for its experimental hepatitis C treatment and is unlikely to find a partner for the therapeutic vaccine soon, Chief Executive Officer Philippe Archinard said. The French drug researcher, controlled by the Merieux family, is developing the TG4040 compound for use with the injection drug interferon, a standard treatment that will probably soon be replaced by newer medicines taken in the form of pills, Archinard said in a telephone interview. “We’ll have to find an intelligent path” for TG4040, he said. “In this new context of oral treatments, it’s true that the place for a therapeutic vaccine isn’t obvious.” Pharmaceutical companies have been rushing to get new medicines for hepatitis C, a liver disease which the Geneva- based World Health Organization says afflicts as many as 150 million people. Treatment with injection drugs including interferon, which is accompanied by flu-like symptoms, may last as long as a year. New drugs in testing, developed by companies such as Gilead Sciences Inc. and AbbVie Inc., are taken as pills, with shorter treatment durations and fewer side effects. Transgene shares lost 3.5 percent to close at 8.58 euros in Paris trading today, the steepest single-day decline since Oct. 10. They had climbed as much as 0.9 percent earlier in the session. This gives the Illkirch, France-based company a market value of 272.6 million euros ($365 million). In an April interview, Archinard said the company was aiming for a TG4040 partnership by the end of 2012. Repositioning TG4040: Transgene may reposition the product for hard-to-treat patients, and is also considering use of TG4040 in China, where interferon therapy is likely to remain standard treatment for longer, Archinard said.

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