UPDATE 1- Achillion's hepatitis C drug gets FDA fast track

Tue May 15, 2012 7:45am EDT

May 15 (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted a fast track designation to Achillion Pharmaceuticals Inc's experimental hepatitis C drug ACH-3102, currently in an early-stage trial.

The fast-track status is designed to expedite the regulatory review of drugs that aim to treat serious diseases and fill unmet medical needs.

The New Haven, Connecticut-based company got a fast track designation in January for another of its experimental hepatitis C (HCV) drug ACH-1625, which was in a mid-stage trial.

The hepatitis C virus infects the liver and is the most common cause of viral hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver.

The market for hepatitis C treatments is expected to be worth around $15 billion by 2019, garnering significant investor interest, and most firms trying to develop a drug for the infection have seen stock prices skyrocketing over the past one year.

Shares of Achillion closed at $6.89 on Monday on the Nasdaq.

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