AbbVie's hep C cocktail delivers 100% cure rate in genotype 1b niche

AbbVie knows it has to press its case for Viekira Pak if it's going to get--and keep--a sizable share of the hepatitis C market. Today, it unveiled some new data that could help it do just that.

Viekira Pak, which combines AbbVie's ($ABBV) Viekirax and Exviera, delivered a 100% sustained response rate in genotype 1b patients with cirrhosis--with or without the older and harder-to-tolerate drug ribavirin.

The data is a plus for AbbVie as it continues to carve out its own share of the hep C business, in head-to-head competition with Gilead Sciences' ($GILD) megablockbuster treatment Sovaldi and its big-selling sister med Harvoni. And the study itself shows how drugmakers are slicing up the market--sub-genotype by sub-genotype--as a way to create niches where their own treatments show an advantage.

The 100% cure rate in this latest trial--dubbed TURQUOISE-III--is obviously worth touting. The Phase III trial on which FDA based its Viekira Pak approval showed cure rates of 91% to 100%, Reuters notes.

Genotype 1 is the most common type of hepatitis C, and the 1b strain "represents a large portion of HCV patients globally," study scientist Jordan J. Feld said in a statement. According to AbbVie, in Europe, 1b is the most prevalent genotype, with 47% of hepatitis C cases.

TURQUOISE-III is one part of AbbVie's Phase 3b program, designed to highlight Viekira Pak's results in various hep C types. The R&D effort "aims to further enhance our understanding of AbbVie's regimen in HCV populations seen in clinical practice, and supports our commitment to continued investigation in this field," AbbVie's VP of pharma development Scott Brun said in a statement.

- check out the AbbVie release

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