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BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Investors were treated to a hepatitis C data dump Wednesday ahead of a European liver disease meeting later in the month. Pretty much all the new data from ongoing hepatitis C drug trials hewed close to Wall Street expectations, although Merck (MRK) - Get Merck & Co., Inc. Report faces an interesting commercial dilemma in 2016.

Merck's most advanced hepatitis C therapy consists of two drugs, grazoprevir and elbasvir, formulated into a single pill. On Wednesday, the company disclosed partial results from a phase III study known as C-EDGE. Overall, 12 weeks of treatment with Merck's doublet therapy led to early hepatitis C cure (SVR4) rates of 95%. The SVR4 cure rate was boosted to 98% when patients also took ribavirin.

For a variety of subpopulations of hepatitis C patients, including treatment-experienced and those co-infected with HIV, Merck's doublet therapy demonstrated SVR4 cure rates of 92% to 100%, according to results disclosed Wednesday.

Based on these results and data from prior studies, the efficacy and safety profiles of Merck's doublet therapy is no different from the currently approved hepatitis C therapies already marketed by Gilead Sciences (GILD) - Get Gilead Sciences, Inc. Report and Abbvie (ABBV) - Get AbbVie, Inc. Report.

Merck has previously stated that it will seek approval for the grazoprevir/elbasvir combination pill in the middle of the year. If approved by the end of the year or in early 2016 -- and there's probably little risk the therapy won't be approved -- Merck's dilemma will be finding a way to grab market share for a new hepatitis C therapy without any clinical or convenience advantages over the existing competition.

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The only way Merck likely makes a dent commercially is by offering insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers a large discount on the price of the doublet therapy. If Merck goes this route, the downward pricing pressure already affecting Gilead and Abbvie will increase.

Also Wednesday, Abbvie and partner Enanta Pharmaceuticals (ENTA) - Get Enanta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Report disclosed preliminary phase IIb results on a next-generation combination therapy consisting of ABT-493 and ABT-530. Early cure rates (SVR4) were 99% following 12 weeks of treatment for genotype 1 hepatitis C patients, both treatment-naive and prior-null responders. These data are quite strong and bolster the view that the next-generation '493/'530 combination are superior to Abbvie's current treatment offering Viekira Pak.

Missing from Wedneday's hepatitis C data dump were results from a study of Gilead's triple-combination of Sovaldi, GS-5816 and GS-9857. Investors are anticipating these data to see whether Gilead's triple combo can achieve competitive cure with significantly shorter treatment durations of 6 weeks or less.

An update on all these hepatitis C therapies and more will be presented at the European Association for the Study of the Liver meeting being held April 22-26.

Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.