Bristol-Myers Squibb has suspended a mid-stage study of a hepatitis C drug obtained through its recent $2.50 billion acquisition of Inhibitex.

The drug in question is BMS-986094, formerly known as INX-189, a nucleotide polymerase (NS5B) inhibitor in development for HCV. The Phase II trial has been voluntarily halted "to protect patient safety based on the emergence of a serious safety issue", B-MS says.

It has been reported that heart failure occurred in one participant who  received the highest daily dose of 200mg in the trial which has recruited about 30 patients. B-MS pointed out that "the cause of the safety issue and any potential relationship to study drug are unknown at this time", adding that it is undertaking "an immediate assessment of all patients in the study".

Antiviral pact with Prosetta

Meantime, B-MS has signed a deal with Prosetta Antiviral, a San Francisco-based biotech.

Under the terms of the pact, the financial details for which were not disclosed, Prosetta will receive an upfront payment and multi-year research funding, milestones and royalties. The collaboration is focused on compounds shown to block viral capsid assembly.