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Bristol-Myers Squibb to acquire Inhibitex

9 January 2012

Prof McGuigan with the "Cardiff Inhibitex team" in the laboratory 2011

Prof. Chris McGuigan with the "2011 Cardiff Inhibitex team" in the laboratory 

l-r Karoline Madela (PhD), Dr Maria Arrica (Post Doc), Sarah Jones (technician), Claire Bourdin (PhD),  Emma Barrett (PhD).

link to full sized image  625.5 Kb


Bristol-Myers Squibb, a major U.S. Pharmaceutical company, has announced its intention to purchase Inhibitex, the US biopharmaceutical company which hyas been working on potential anti-viral drugs with Prof Chris McGuigan’s laboratory in the Cardiff School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences.


The deal which is worth $2.5bn, includes two of the drugs first synthesised in Cardiff : INX189, which is active against hepatitis C and FV100, an anti-shingles drug.  Both drugs have successfully completed initial phase 2 clinical trials, although more trials are in the pipe-line.  BMS anticipate taking 1NX189 to full FDA approval as quickly as possible.


Meanwhile, Prof McGuigan and his team in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences are committed to work on a series of new compounds to act as fast followers and backups.


3D structure/image of INX-189 anti-hepatitis C drug

3D structure/image of INX-189 an anti-hepatitis C drug synthesised in the School

 More information here 

3D structure of FV-100, a potential anti-shingles drug

Three-dimensional structure of FV-100.







Inhibitex is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of innovative products that can treat or prevent serious infections, whose primary focus is on the development of nucleotide/nucleoside analogs for the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV). Its lead HCV asset is INX-189, an oral nucleotide polymerase (NS5B) inhibitor in Phase II development that has exhibited potent antiviral activity, a high barrier to resistance and pan-genotypic coverage. Nucleotides/nucleosides are emerging as an important class of antivirals that may play a critical role as the backbone of future direct-acting antiviral-only combination approaches to HCV treatment.


"The acquisition of Inhibitex builds on Bristol-Myers Squibb's long history of discovering, developing and delivering innovative new medicines in virology and enriches our portfolio of investigational medicines for hepatitis C," said Lamberto Andreotti, chief executive officer, Bristol-Myers Squibb. "There is significant unmet medical need in hepatitis C. This acquisition represents an important investment in the long-term growth of the company."

"This transaction puts INX-189 and the Company's other infectious disease assets in the hands of an organization that can more optimally develop them and which believes as strongly as we do in INX-189's potential in the treatment of chronic HCV," said Russell Plumb, President and Chief Executive Officer of Inhibitex. "Bristol-Myers Squibb's expertise in antiviral drug development, and its existing complementary portfolio, will assure that the potential of INX-189 is realized as part of future oral combination therapies for millions of patients in need around the world."

Professor McGuigan,. who is also a member of the Board of Directors of Inhibitex, warmly welcomed this news, saying, "BMS are absolutely ideal partners at this pivotal stage of clinical development of our promising agent INX-189; with their proven expertise in developing nucleosides for viral infection I am sure that this deal will greatly expedite the progression of INX-189 towards approval for use by patients."

Sir Chris Evans, Chairman of Excalibur Group and Chairman of the Life Sciences Sector Panel commented "The successful clinical development of drug INX-189 and the £1.6b sale of Inhibitex to BMS is a remarkable achievement for Professor Chris McGuigan and a fantastic piece of commercialisation in anyone's book.  The fact that Cardiff's own Prof. Chris McGuigan created INX-189 which launched Inhibitex onto the global scene three years ago demonstrates the enormous potential value of the Welsh Life Sciences sector.  I am delighted that Prof. McGuigan is a member of my Panel as we have known each other for nearly 20 years and his experience in this industry is invaluable to Wales as we develop our Life Sciences Sector."


A current Powerpoint presentation from Prof McGuigan describing Pro Tides is available here.

See also

 Full text of Bristol-Meyers Squibb press release from 7th Jan. 2012 


The Story behind the discovery of FV100, a potent anti-shingles drug


Inhibitex, Inc.   company web-site


Prof Chris McGuigan

Position:Professor of Medicinal Chemistry
Staff Photo
Telephone: +44 (0)29 208 74537 Extension: 74537