Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Will New Hep C Combo Drugs Change Treatment Scenario?

Last year saw the approval of Merck's Victrelis (boceprevir) drug and J&J's Incivek, (telaprevir), protease inhibitors which, along with other pharmaceuticals, enhance the attack on the Hepatitis C (HCV) virus. In 2012 we may see the market effects. It's possible the drugs may change what was previously a very dreary treatment scenario for this serious condition.

Hepatitis C affects both men and women. It is the leading cause of acute liver inflammation and liver cancer and the most common cause of needing a liver transplant. More than 170 million people worldwide are infected, while 3-4 million people are diagnosed each year. In the United States, approximately 4 million are living with this disease, while in Europe and Japan another 4 million and 2 million are living with the disease, respectively.

Used in combinations, the new drugs showed in clinical trials that they can succeed at as high as a 70% response rate, about 30% higher than the therapies on the market. Diagnostic companies should be interested in this development: there's now a realistic treatment, thus more tests may be needed.

Kalorama breaks out the market opportunity for pharmaceuticals treating infection by infection type (including HCV and HIV) in a new study on the subject: