AbbVie's experimental combination hepatitis C treatment showed high cure rates of 97% to 98% after eight weeks of treatment, the company said in a presentation as the International Liver Meeting in Barcelona, Spain.
The regimen combined two experimental compounds, ABT-493 and ABT-530, and is designed to treat the virus across all six genotypes. AbbVie's currently approved drug Viekira Pak only treats genotype 1.
AbbVie is trying to chip away at Gilead's impressive dominance of the heptatis C market, but only has about 5% of the market, according to Reuters.
The study, known as Surveyor, reflects AbbVie's efforts to broaden its portfolio of HCV drugs to encompass more HCV-infected patients. In addition to boasting high efficacy rates and a broader target population, the experimental treatment is once-daily - matching the convenience offered by Gilead's Harvoni.
AbbVie's Viekira Pak is administered over four pills daily, making adherence more challenging.
"These results move us closer to our ultimate goal of providing a treatment option for as many hepatitis C patients as possible. We will continue to examine our investigational, pan-genotypic regimen through our dedicated clinical trial program, including an eight-week duration across all genotypes," said Rob Scott, vice president of development and chief medical officer at AbbVie.
AbbVie's oral, fixed dose combination of 300mg ABT-493 (an NS3/4A protease inhibitor) and 120mg ABT-530 (an NS5A inhibitor) is the cornerstone of this effort. ABT-493 was discovered as part of an ongoing collaboration between AbbVie and Enanta.
After eight weeks of treatment with ABT-493 and ABT-530, 97% to 98% patients with genotypes 1-3 experienced sustained virologic response measured at 12 weeks (SVR12) post treatment. Additionally, 100% of patients with genotype 4-6 hit SVR12.
In December 2014, the FDA approved AbbVie's Viekira Pak (ombitasvir, paritaprevir and ritonavir tablets co-packaged with dasabuvir tablets) to treat HCV genotype 1-infected patients with or without cirrhosis.
AbbVie has seen some success in negotiating with payers, winning an exclusive listing from Express Scripts, a large pharmacy benefits manager in the U.S., beating out Gilead.
Gilead, however, is not sitting on its hands as the market leader. It recently announced a combination treatment of sofosbuvir/velpatasvir and an experimental compound called GS-9857 was 99% effective in treating genotypes 12,3,4, and 6 among patients who had failed a direct acting antiviral program.
Note: This article has been corrected. The regimen is once daily, but the pill count is still being assessed through ongoing Phase 3 trials.