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:

Monday, January 30, 2012

Interview with Illumina CEO Flatley Points to Clinical Sequencing

Lest anyone wonder why Illumina is a target for a very persistent Roche, and why they in turn are adopting strong defensive measures, it's important to consider the role of sequencing in clinical diagnostics, especially in cancer applications. Washington video interview with Illumina CEO Jay Flatley points to the company's vision of a future in clinical applications for sequencing. If you've sequenced a tumor, you've got a 'much better roadmap" to treatment.

It's likely that payors would agree, given the drop in costs. With sequencing costs expected to get down to one thousand dollars, it's not hard to imagine that a DNA sequencing of a tumor will be seen as a reasonable investment for care of a patient if the outcome can be improved at all by a sequencing, and if it can better target the therapeutic steps. It's therefore not a business that a major marketer of IVD can ignore.