An advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration Thursday recommended approval for a new combination therapy marketed by Swiss drugmaker
to treat hepatitis C.
The Antiviral Drugs Advisory Committee gave a unanimous thumbs-up to Pegasys, a longer-acting form of the immune-boosting drug interferon, used in combination with the antiviral medicine ribavarin. Roche manufactures both drugs. The panel's recommendation will now be passed along to the full FDA for a final decision. The FDA usually, although not always, agrees with a panel's recommendation.
Last month, the FDA approved Pegasys as a stand-alone treatment for hepatitis C. But most patients suffering from the liver disease are treated with the combination therapy.
Roche's new Pegasys combination therapy for hepatitis C will compete with a similar combination treatment marketed by
, which generated $1.4 billion in sales last year.