AbbVie, Enanta drug shows potential in hep C genotype 4 patients
Tue Nov 11, 2014 10:28am EST
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(Reuters) - AbbVie Inc said its experimental drug that treats genotype 4 hepatitis C showed high response rates in a mid-stage study in patients who have been considered difficult to treat.
The company is developing the drug with Enanta Pharmaceuticals Inc.
AbbVie said on Tuesday 100 percent of the patients who were given the drug and had failed previous treatment showed high response rates at 12 weeks after the treatment.
Genotype 4 variant of the hepatitis C virus is more frequent in the Middle East and Africa, affecting about 34 million people across the world.
Other drugmakers such as Merck & Co Inc, Gilead Sciences Inc and Achillion Pharmaceuticals Inc have been working on their own hepatitis C candidates with the aim of reducing treatment time from the current 8-12 weeks.
J.P. Morgan Securities analysts said in a note that AbbVie's treatment duration is unlikely to move into the four-six week range.
However, they continue to expect AbbVie to capture at least 20 percent of the $15-billion-plus hepatitis C market next year.
AbbVie also presented data from another mid-stage study where patients infected with both genotype 1 hepatitis C and HIV viruses showed response rates of 93.5 percent and 90.6 percent after 12 and 24 weeks post-treatment, respectively.
AbbVie's treatments are co-administered with Ribavirin, a commonly used drug in the treatment of hepatitis C which comes with a harsh safety profile.
Shares of AbbVie were up 0.11 percent at $63.72 and those of Enanta were down 0.20 percent at $44.05 in early trading.