On Thursday, the federal government ordered, on an emergency basis, 10,000 treatment courses of peramivir for its national stockpile. It is paying $22.5 million, or about $2,250 a patient. Shares of BioCryst rose nearly 13 percent, to $11.39.
Peramivir is given intravenously, making it usable by hospitalized patients who are too ill to take two approved flu drugs that work against the virus in similar ways — Tamiflu by Roche, which is typically given as a pill, or Relenza from GlaxoSmithKline, which is inhaled.
Late Thursday, the government announced orders for intravenous versions of Tamiflu and Relenza, which are much cheaper — a development that could force shares of BioCryst to give up some of their gains on Friday.
...the efficacy of peramivir is still in question, according to the government. While some clinical trials showed the drug had an effect in resolving flu symptoms, others did not show statistically significant differences between peramivir and either a placebo or Tamiflu.
UPDATE: "Given there are limited safety data on peramivir, mandatory reporting requirements are important to defining the safety profile of this unapproved drug," the FDA states in a Medwatch Alert.
Friday, November 6, 2009
By the NYT's Andrew Pollack; excerpts follow:
Posted by Meryl Nass, M.D. at 11:50 AM