Gilead, AbbVie hep C drugs score 97% cure rates, Regulus gets cold shoulder
- At this year's American Association for the Study of Liver Disease conference in Boston, hepatitis C was a hot topic, with sidebar conversations extolling the virtues of treating patients with Gilead's fixed-dose oral combo treatment, Harvoni, and pent-up excitement and interest in AbbVie's all-oral regimen, which is still being considered for approval.
- Though doctors are using Harvoni, they are often exceeding the eight-week indication with a more conservative 12-week approach, according to The Street. In that timeframe, both Harvoni and AbbVie's yet-to-be-approved 3-in-1 HCV hopeful (ombitasvir/ABT-450/ritonavir and dasabuvir) had between 96% and 98% cure rates for non-cirrhotic patients (with Harvoni also achieving that level of success in patients who had failed previous therapy and were treated concurrently with ribavarin).
- Merck does not consider its latest hep C "failure" a "failure." But its ambitious four-week regimen comprised of grazoprevir and elbasvir in combination with Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) did not have a high cure rate and had a high rate of relapse.
With respect to hep C treatments, all-oral regimens are here to stay, and it seems that at least for now, 12 weeks of therapy is preferred.
While physicians are treating patients with Harvoni, they are also looking forward to seeing how Merck's new oral treatment will compare—not only in terms of clinical performance, but also with regards to price and reimbursement.
For its part, Regulus is introducing a new injectable that has shown some promise. But in the age of oral regimens, it's not getting a lot of love.