Nov 18 AbbVie Inc said a late-stage
trial of its experimental oral hepatitis C treatment showed
about 96 percent of patients had no detectable levels of the
virus after 12 weeks.
AbbVie shares rose 3 percent. Shares of Enanta
Pharmaceuticals Inc, which collaborates with AbbVie on
one of the drugs included in the treatment, rose 4 percent.
The trial is being watched closely because of the potential
of the treatment, 3D regimen, to eliminate the need for the
injectable drug interferon, which can have debilitating side
Analysts said the "high efficacy" seen in the trial was in
line with market expectations but underlined the increasingly
"Thus far AbbVie looks competitive but still key data to
come," UBS analyst Marc Goodman wrote in a note.
AbbVie, the pharmaceuticals business spun off by Abbott
Laboratories early this year, said it was on track for
regulatory submissions for the treatment in the second quarter
"We conservatively forecast AbbVie's HCV regimen to produce
$192 million in 2015, and reach peak sales of $950 million in
2018," BMO Capital Markets analyst Alex Arfaei wrote in a note.
Gilead Sciences Inc's experimental hepatitis C drug
sofosbuvir is awaiting a decision from the U.S. Food and Drug
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co also has advanced all-oral
clinical trial programs in late-stage development. But Gilead is
widely seen to be leading the race.
AbbVie's trial, named Sapphire-I, is the first of six
late-stage trials testing AbbVie's interferon-free treatment.
AbbVie's 3D regimen combines three drugs along with an
existing medicine, ribavirin.
The trial tested the treatment in 631 patients, who had
received no prior treatment and had no signs of liver cirrhosis.
They had the genotype 1 variant of the infection, which accounts
for roughly 70 percent of hepatitis C cases.
AbbVie's shares were up about 2 percent at $49.35 in morning
trading on the New York Stock Exchange.