A new wave of experimental hepatitis C drugs is being pursued by several large biotech firms, and Abbott Laboratories (ABT) just received positive Phase II results from their drug hopeful regimen. The drug program is a combination of four antiviral drugs, and in a study of 17 people who could not be cured by other medications, 8 were cured within 3 months of treatment. (STAY AHEAD OF THE CURVE: Follow Kapitall on Twitter)
The study also found a 93-95% cure rate for those who have never been treated, according to Bloomberg. The regimen is a combination of ABT-450, ABT-333, ritonavir and ribavirin, and analysts believe the drug will become FDA approved if it is equally effective in Phase III trials.
Hepatitis C programs not involving interferons are being pursued not only by Abbott, but also Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMY), Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD), Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VRTX) and Merck & Co. (MRK).
“Today’s news places additional pressure on Gilead and Bristol-Myers,” said Tony Butler, an analyst with Barclays Capital. Butler said Abbott’s hepatitis C drugs could be worth as much as $2 billion a year if they’re approved by regulators. (via Bloomberg)
"The Abbott data is good enough to get U.S. approval if supported in larger trials," said Scott Brun, vice president of infectious disease development at Abbott.
Business Section: Investing Ideas
Do you think this drug, or possibly this whole class of drugs, will see higher effectiveness in late-stage trials?
For a closer look at the makers of the possible next generation of hepatitis C medications, we list below the companies mentioned in this article.
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2. Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Develops, and delivers innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. Market cap at $57.16B.Price at $33.68.
3. Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Engages in the discovery, development, and commercialization of therapeutics for the treatment of life threatening diseases worldwide. Market cap at $36.46B.Price at $47.17.
4. Merck & Co. Inc. (MRK, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Provides various health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, animal health, and consumer care products. Market cap at $117.86B.Price at $38.89.
5. Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (VRTX, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Engages in the discovery, development, and commercialization of small molecule drugs for the treatment of serious diseases worldwide. Market cap at $8.79B.Price at $40.54.
(Written by Alexander Crawford.)
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- Abbott Laboratories (ABT, Chart, Download SEC Filings)
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