(By Balachander) Idenix Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:IDIX) shares were upgraded to "Hold" from "Sell" by Brean Murray, Carret & Co (BMC), given the sharp decline in valuation.
Earlier this week, the U.S. health regulators placed a partial hold on further trials of the company's experimental hepatitis C treatment, IDX184, over safety concerns.
The brokerage wrote that the fallout from BMS094 continues as the FDA also places IDX184 on partial clinical hold due to the two drugs structural similarity.
This is the second clinical hold IDX184 has experienced in as many years and will prevent the start of combination studies with their NS5A inhibitor, IDX719, which were planned to start this year, BMC said.
"Though we have maintained that IDX184 is incapable of being the cornerstone of a competitive all oral regimen, this partial clinical hold will further delay arrival onto the market and allow the entrenchment of the leading regimens," BMC wrote in a note.
"Given the sharp decline in valuation we are upgrading our rating to Hold while we wait on clarity around the next steps," the brokerage said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) halted the clinical program for IDX184 and requested Idenix perform additional cardiac testing of patients as well as provide all present safety data for review.
BMC believes the FDA is now looking for a specific signal, which might not have been caught when reviewing data for general safety concerns.
The stock, which has been trading in the 52-week range of $4.30 to $15.25, edged 0.17 percent lower to trade at $5.83 on Friday.