Tackling Tough-To-Treat Patients As HCV Cure Rates Near 100%
This article was originally published in Scrip
It's no longer a matter of which company will achieve the highest hepatitis C cure rates first, but which one will most effectively treat patients who fall through the cracks, since Gilead Sciences Inc., Merck & Co. Inc. and AbbVie Inc.'s latest antiviral drug cocktails cure nearly all patients.
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With few remaining unmet needs in hepatitis C, Gilead, Merck and AbbVie are focusing on tough-to-treat niches with their next-gen combination regimens, especially treatment-experienced patients who failed on prior direct-acting antiviral therapy. Merck also is studying injectable drug users in an effort to eradicate HCV entirely.
As the third to market, Merck & Co. Inc.'s recently launched Zepatier brought in a modest $50m in sales during the first quarter – but the drug has had an outsized impact on the hepatitis C field, with competitors Gilead Sciences Inc. and AbbVie Inc. both citing the new competition among the reasons for their declining HCV product sales during the first quarter.
Avoro Capital, Holocene Advisors and Darwin Global say that Acceleron should sell later for a higher price based on forthcoming data or Merck should raise its bid above $180 per share.