April 25, 2015 / 9:05 PM / 5 years ago

Bristol-Myers says hepatitis C drug combination succeeds in study

(Reuters) - Bristol-Myers Squibb Co said its experimental drug cured hepatitis C in over 90 percent of patients in combination with Gilead Sciences Inc’s Sovaldi and a commonly prescribed drug, ribavirin, in a late-stage study.

Data presented at the International Liver Congress on Saturday showed that the combination cured 94 percent of the patients suffering from hepatitis C after a liver transplant and 83 percent of patients with severe scarring.

There were no adverse events observed in the study, Bristol-Myers said on Saturday.

Bristol-Myers has been testing the drug, daclatasvir, in combination with Sovaldi after shelving plans to market another hepatitis C drug, asunaprevir, in the United States.

Asunaprevir was expected to face tough competition from more potent drugs for hepatitis C, such as Sovaldi and AbbVie Inc’s Viekira Pak.

An estimated 3.2 million people in the United States are living with chronic hepatitis C infection and there are about 17,000 new hepatitis C cases every year, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

Daclatasvir is approved in Europe, Brazil and Japan as a part of combination therapy.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration denied approval for daclatasvir in combination with other antiviral drugs in November and asked for new data on daclatasvir.

Reporting by Vidya L Nathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey

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