ABBOTT PARK, Ill. ( TheStreet) -- A combination regimen of oral hepatitis C drugs developed by Abbott (ABT - Get Report) achieved near-perfect cure rates in patients new to treatment. Cure rates were almost as strong in patients who failed previous therapy, making them among the hardest to treat.
With cure rates of 99% following a 12-week regimen of oral drugs, Abbott stamps itself as a strong challenger to Gilead Sciences (GILD - Get Report) in the rapidly evolving race to develop potent, interferon-free regimens for hepatitis C.
Abbott shares rose more than 3% to $71.60 following the release of the hepatitis C data.
The new Abbott data announced Monday come from a large, phase II study known as "AVIATOR" that was designed to assess the efficacy and safety of various combinations of oral hepatitis drugs in treatment-naive patients as well as hard-to-treat "null" responders.The Abbott drugs studied in AVIATOR were ABT-450, a protease inhibitor that requires blood-boosting with ritonavir; ABT-267, a NS5A inhibitor; and ABT-333, a "non-nuc" polymerase inhibitor. Ribavirin, a current backbone in hepatitis C treatment, was also included in some but not all of the combination regimens. A 12-week regimen consisting of all three Abbott drugs plus ribavirin demonstrated "observed" SVR12 rates of 99% (76/77) in treatment-naive patients and 93% (38/41) in null responders.