Despite my earlier pessimism about InterMune's fortunes and future earlier this year, I was encouraged by their presentation to investors and financial analysts at the recent UBS Global Life Sciences Conference (audio archive here).
InterMune's gone through a change in leadership over the past year, and looks to be getting their financial house in order. More importantly, they're focusing much of their research efforts on hepatitis C.
Last month, InterMune announced a licensing deal with Chiron to pursue development of hepatitis C protease inhibitors. InterMune will be presenting some early findings from its protease inhibitor program at the AASLD Liver Meeting (Oct. 29th- Nov. 2nd).
InterMune will also present preliminary results from its on-going studies of Infergen (consensus interferon -- see patient medication guide [PDF file]) for retreating people with hepatitis C who did not respond to prior interferon-based therapies. InterMune is looking at Infergen with either ribavirin (the DIRECT trial) or Actimmune, a synthetic form of interferon gamma (Infergen, along with Roche and Schering's versions of interferon, are synthetic forms of interferon alpha).
InterMune clearly stated their desire to develop a strong partnership around hepatitis C with another company at their UBS Conference talk. There was a rumor floated earlier this summer that Chiron might be looking at acquiring InterMune -- though from all appearances, it looks like that rumor was unfounded.
In the meantime, a growing number of people who were unable to achieve a sustained virologic response during prior hepatitis C treatment are looking at InterMune's progress. Let's hope the good news from InterMune continues.