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HCV Drug Development: Merck Acquires Idenix, FDA Lifts Sovaprevir Hold

Merck this week announced that it will purchase Idenix, a specialty biopharmaceutical company developing several hepatitis C virus (HCV) drug candidates. In related news, Achillion announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has lifted a clinical hold on one of its drugs and a clinical trial of another is now underway.

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Hepatitis C Cascade Studies Show Gaps in Testing and Treatment

About half of people with hepatitis C are aware of their infection but less than 10% have been successfully treated and achieved sustained virological response, according to a meta-analysis presented at the recent Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2014). A related study found that among HIV/HCV coinfected people, 40% had been referred to hepatitis C care but only 4% were cured.

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DDW 2014: Sustained Response to Interferon Is Durable in Children with Hepatitis C

Children with hepatitis C treated with interferon-based therapy continued to show undetectable HCV viral load up to 7 years after achieving sustained virological response in the PEDS-C trial, researchers reported at Digestive Disease Week this month in Chicago.

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DDW 2014: Some Negative Predictive Factors Do Not Impair Response to Faldaprevir

Some factors traditionally associated with poorer response to interferon-based therapy for hepatitis C played little role in clinical trials of the HCV protease inhibitor faldaprevir, according to several studies presented at Digestive Disease Week this month in Chicago. HCV subtype 1a and prior treatment did not significantly worsen response, while HIV/HCV coinfection may be associated with better response.

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DDW 2014: AbbVie Interferon-free Regimen Cures More than 90% of Hepatitis C Patients

AbbVie's all-oral "3D" regimen containing ABT-450, ombitasvir, and dasabuvir, used with or without ribavirin, led to sustained virological response in 90% to 100% of genotype 1a and 1b hepatitis C patients in the Phase 3 PEARL trials, according to data reported at the Digestive Disease Week (DDW 2014) meeting last week in Chicago and in the May 4 online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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