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Gilead-Bristol Hepatitis C Drug Combo Cures All in Study

• Simeon Bennett via Bloomberg.com
A hepatitis C drug combination from Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD) and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMY) cured all patients in a trial, demonstrating the success of a cocktail that may never be approved.

In a study among 41 patients of Gilead’s sofosbuvir with Bristol’s daclatasvir, with or without the generic antiviral ribavirin, 40 were virus-free 12 weeks after six months of treatment, according to results presented yesterday in Amsterdam. The other patient didn’t turn up to the last appointment and was later found to be virus-clear. All the patients had failed prior treatment with either Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VRTX)’s Incivek or Merck & Co. (MRK)’s Victrelis.

Enlarge imaThe lack of a late-stage study, and the expense of the pills, will probably put the Gilead-Bristol combination out of reach for doctors and patients, said Geoffrey Dusheiko, a professor of medicine at the Royal Free Hospital in London.

“It’s a conundrum for us,” Dusheiko said in an interview after the results were presented at the European Association For the Study of the Liver’s conference. “It looks a very promising regimen, it really does. But I’m really not sure it’ll see the light of day.”

Still, doctors may be tempted to prescribe the Gilead- Bristol combo “off-label” once both drugs are approved, said Mark Thursz, secretary-general of the European liver association.

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