Gilead's Epclusa And Merck's Zepatier Hep C Combos Get EMA backing
Gilead's sofosbuvir/velpatasvir combination Epclusa and Merck's grazoprevir and elbasvir combo Zepatier are on course for approval in Europe for treating hepatitis C, but analysts say Gilead's two-drug therapy has the better commercial prospects of the two.
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The UK's health care cost-assessment body finds Gilead's newest combo, Epclusa, cost-effective in most HCV settings. J&J/Achillion now have 12-week SVR data for six-week treatment regimen, and AbbVie builds support for an eight-week regimen for Viekirax.
Merck reports $314m for PD-1 inhibitor Keytruda in second quarter, mostly from melanoma indication, leaving it far behind Bristol's Opdivo. Pressed about its competitive strategy, company execs touted first-to-market advantage in first-line lung cancer and a "wall of data" that will protect in the future.
Fixed-dose combo of sofosbuvir and velpatasvir is approved to treat genotypes 1-6 and be the first ribavirin-free regimen for genotypes 2 and 3 of the virus.