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Gilead and Achillion see 100% success rate in hep C trial

New combination treatment aims to compete in a rapidly evolving market for the disease

Gilead Sciences

Gilead and Achillion have posted impressive clinical study results for a new all-oral combination hepatitis C treatment. 

The phase II study was assessing the safety and efficacy of using Achillion's experimental drug ACH-3102 with Gilead's established and major blockbuster hep C pill Sovaldi (sofosbuvir).

It involved 12 previously untreated patients with genotype 1 hep C and three months after the completion of therapy, all 12 (100%) of the patients achieved sustained viral response (SVR12), which is in clinical terms tantamount to a cure.

This is currently the shortest duration and highest response achieved by any two-drug treatment for the disease, and beats Gilead's new combination therapy Harvoni (ledipasvir and sofosbuvir), which received FDA approval last year and is expected to generate sales of around $10bn in 2015. 

Dr Milind Deshpande, president and chief executive of Achillion, said: “Our goal is to deliver short duration, widely accessible treatments to all HCV patients. We believe that these results with ACH-3102 represent the shortest duration and highest response achieved to date with any two-drug, direct-acting antiviral regimen for HCV.”

Deshpande is now hoping to use these data as a platform for the firm to progress its own, all Achillion drug combination therapy using ACH-3102 with another experimental drug called ACH-3422.

The hep C market has become intensely competitive over the past year, with new combination treatments from Bristol-Myers Squibb, AbbVie and Gilead all hitting the US market in 2014.

But even though competition is fierce, the new market is lucrative, currently being valued at $20bn for the new form of oral hepatitis C drugs - one of which is likely to be an all-Achillion regimen, predicted to hit the US market by the end of the decade.

Deutsche Bank analyst Alethia Young said in a note to clients that she expects the treatment to cost about $35,000 (£23,000) per patient per year, assuming a 55% discount - far less than the $90,000 plus price tag for Gilead's current combination treatment Harvoni.

A lower price combined with a quicker and better response rate will make it more attractive to payers and patients, but it will still be late to market, potentially limiting its full sales potential.

Article by
Ben Adams

10th February 2015

From: Research, Sales

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