Gilead Sciences saw its stock swell as much as 14% after it unveiled promising mid-stage trial data for its experimental hepatitis C combination, raising hopes that a cure for the disease is in its bag.
Interim data from the ongoing Phase II ELECTRON study showed that a combination of the investigational nucleotide sofosbuvir (formerly GS-7977), the NS5A inhibitor GS-5885 and ribavirin cleared the virus patients with genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection.
One hundred percent of treatment-naiive patients remained HCV RNA undetectable four weeks after completing therapy, the firm said.
“These results indicate that adding GS-5885 to sofosbuvir-based regimens may enhance SVR rates, potentially offering HCV genotype 1 infected patients a convenient 12-week course of oral therapy,” noted lead trial investigator Edward Gane, deputy director and hepatologist at the New Zealand Liver Transplant Unit at Auckland City Hospital in New Zealand.
The company said it has also recently kicked off a Phase III trial designed to assess sofosbuvir and GS-5885 without ribavirin in 800 treatment-naïve genotype 1 patients, 20% of whom have evidence of cirrhosis, in 12- and 24-week courses of therapy.
Commenting on the results of the ELECTRON trial in client notes, ISI Group analyst Mark Schoenebaum said: "This was the key datapoint that the street was waiting for,” while RBC Capital Markets analyst said: “This is starting to look like a home run as we now know Gilead at least has a 100 percent cure all-oral regimen with its own wholly owned drug with no partnering," reports Bloomberg.
Gilead is competing with a stream of drugmakers, including Abbott, Vertex and Merck, to develop the next generation of HCV therapies.