Cocktail Clears Hepatitis C In 6 Weeks

(Reuters) – Achillion Pharmaceuticals Inc said its experimental hepatitis C drug, when used in combination with Gilead Sciences Inc’s Sovaldi, eradicated signs of the virus after six weeks of therapy, sending its shares up before the opening bell.

If the combination of Sovaldi and Achillion’s ACH-3102 continues to show this level of effectiveness, the treatment could eventually rival offerings from Gilead and AbbVie Inc to fight the liver-destroying virus.

Gilead’s new-generation hepatitis C treatment, Harvoni, which combines Sovaldi with the company’s own NS5A inhibitor, achieves this response after eight weeks of therapy. Sales of Harvoni totaled $2.11 billion in the quarter ended Dec. 31.

AbbVie’s regimen, Viekira Pak, which won U.S. approval in December, takes 12 weeks to achieve a cure.

Shares of Achillion, one of the few companies developing hepatitis C therapies independently, rose about 10 percent in premarket trading on Monday.

The main goal of Achillion’s ongoing mid-stage study is to achieve a sustained virological response 12 weeks after therapy, which would constitute a cure.

The study is testing a 50 milligram (mg) dose of Achillion’s NS5A inhibitor in combination with 400 mg of Gilead’s sofosbuvir in previously untreated genotype 1 hepatitis C patients.

The market for hepatitis C drugs has developed at a lightening pace in recent years, with several companies working on producing newer drugs to cure the disease, which affects about 150 million globally.

Achillion’s data represents the shortest duration and highest response achieved to date with any two-drug, direct-acting antiviral regimen for hep C, Chief Executive Milind Deshpande said in a statement.

“We will now be evaluating four- and six-week treatment durations that leverage all of our (hepatitis C) assets including ACH-3102, ACH-3422 and sovaprevir,” he said.

Achillion shares closed at $10.82 on the Nasdaq on Friday.

Gilead’s stock was down about 0.5 percent at $96.98 premarket.

(Reporting by Natalie Grover in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza and Ted Kerr)

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John Macey

I was born, and principally educated, in the fields of biochemistry, and business management in the northeastern USA. However, my world-wide professional career has greatly expanded upon that US base to involve the many different segments of the Biotech / Life Science fields globally. – I have been dressed as a surgeon to view many, many surgical proceedures - The major players in the health care fields that I have worked for include: Johnson & Johnson, DuPont, Abbott Laboratories, and F. Hoffmann-La Roche. – Positions have included selling nuclear materials for both in-vivo & in-vitro (radio-pharmaceutical & radio-immunoassay) medical diagnostic purposes, in the four countries in Scandinavia, based south of Stockholm, to managing Ph. Ds at a global Swiss headquarters location. – At one time I held a position of Strategy Manager for Europe, Middle-East & Africa (EME&A) for a Chicago based company, but living in Germany. – I do speak fluent colloquial German. – In addition to having lived in multiple European countries, my professional career took me to Asia for well over a decade. There I had management control of Oceania, the Pacific Rim, Northern Asia, Japan, out to India. – Occasionally, management assignments have taken me to all of Latin America, and most of South America. – I am extremely culturally aware, a skilled negotiator, and a seasoned manager of men and science. – My one abiding passion has always been computing, data, and analysis. As such, my main computer operating system is Linux, and open-source computer applications. – I do also run Microsoft 7, and Mac OS X (all 3 operating systems on the same H-P Ultrabook). I hope you enjoy your time on the Blog, and should you have any comments / feedback please feel free to email me @, or visit my Linux Web Site @ (always evolving) – John J. Macey – AKA Adler, which in German means Eagle – Wildwood, New Jersey - Together, we can expand your global markets - with our partnerships. The partnerships are global utlizing multiple Law, Regulatory, Seasoned Management, Employment, M&A and buidlers of Business. Contact use.