Not all patients who achieve an early response, or RVR, go on to reach a definitive hepatitis C cure. Thursday's sneak peek at the GS-7977 regimen, however, are a strong indication that this drug could achieve cure rates equal to or higher than what's achieved with current drugs like Vertex Pharmaceuticals' ( VRTX) Incivek or Merck's ( MRK) Victrelis without the need for injections. The GS-7977 news boxed out what was a not-so-great fourth quarter for Gilead. The company reported earnings per share that missed consensus by 7% on revenue that slightly beat expectations. The company guided to 2012 total product sales in the range of $8.6 billion to $8.8 billion versus consensus of $8.8 billion. Gilead also said expenses in 2012 would be higher than previously estimated. Ahead of its earnings report and the new GS-7977 data, Gilead shares closed Thursday at $49.31. --Written by Adam Feuerstein in Boston. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Adam Feuerstein. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/adamfeuerstein. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: email@example.com. Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.