CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Idenix Pharmaceuticals Inc. says its partner Novartis AG will not move ahead with optioning a license to a potential hepatitis C drug. The move means Idenix holds on to worldwide rights for IDX-184, the company's lead drug candidate. "As we continue to develop IDX184, we look forward to seeking a partner that will assist us in maximizing the value of this asset," said Idenix Chairman and CEO Jean-Pierre Sommadossi in a statement late Thursday. Analysts had expected Novartis to exercise its option to move the drug further in development, following a positive "proof-of-concept" study several months ago. Idenix currently receives royalty payments on sales of the hepatitis B drug Tyzeka, sold overseas as Sebivo, from Novartis. Shares of Idenix closed at $2.50 Thursday.