Pharmasset ( VRUS), which partners with Roche to develop chronic hepatitis C drug R7128, presented data Friday on a phase I 14-day monotherapy study of patients who failed to respond to standard therapy. Pharmassest said there was a 99% mean decrease in HCV with no serious adverse events. (Pharmasset divulged positive preliminary results for the study in September.) The companies are hoping those results will translate when the drug is used in combination with other therapies for a longer duration in a previously untreated population. Gilead ( GILD), Idenix, ( IDIX) and ViroPharma ( VPHM) are also developing candidates in a class of antivirals called polymerase inhibitors for hepatitis C virus. Vertex ( VRTX), which is presenting at AASLD as well, also dished hepatitis C data for its Telaprevir on Friday.
Stocks soar as the gross domestic product rises at an annualized rate of 3.5% in the third quarter and continuing jobless claims fall. Gregg Greenberg recaps the action in The Real Story video (above).