Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE:BMY) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted its investigational DCV Dual Regimen (daclatasvir and asunaprevir) Breakthrough Therapy Designation for use as a combination therapy in the treatment of genotype 1b chronic hepatitis C infection (HCV). The designation is based on data from the company’s ongoing Phase III clinical trial program evaluating the all-oral combination regimen of DCV, an investigational NS5A replication complex inhibitor, and ASV, an investigational NS3 protease inhibitor, without ribavirin. According to the FDA, Breakthrough Therapy Designation is intended to expedite the development and review of drugs for serious or life-threatening conditions. The criteria for Breakthrough Therapy Designation require preliminary clinical evidence that demonstrates the drug may have substantial improvement on at least one clinically significant endpoint over available therapy. “The FDA’s decision to grant Breakthrough Therapy Designation for our DCV Dual Regimen (daclatasvir and asunaprevir combination therapy) marks the second time that the FDA has granted the Designation to a daclatasvir-based regimen, further underscoring its potential to help address the high unmet needs of the HCV patient population,” said Brian Daniels, MD, senior vice president, Global Development and Medical Affairs, Research and Development, Bristol-Myers Squibb. “This is an important milestone for Bristol-Myers Squibb as we continue our strategic focus on the development of innovative medicines to address areas of high unmet medical need, where potential expedited review can make a critical difference for patients.” Approximately 170 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C, with an estimated 2.7–3.9 million chronically infected in the U.S. Many of these people have been living with HCV for decades, putting them at heightened risk for developing serious, potentially life-threatening liver disease. New data from Bristol-Myers Squibb’s ongoing Phase III clinical program studying the DCV Dual Regimen is anticipated to be presented at an upcoming scientific forum. Data from a separate daclatasvir and asunaprevir Phase III trial in Japanese patients with HCV genotype 1b who were either interferon-ineligible/intolerant or non-responders (null and partial) to interferon-based therapies served as the basis for a regulatory filing in Japan in October 2013.