Gilead HIV med OK'd for hepatitis

Gilead Sciences is expanding its expertise further beyond its long-held specialty in HIV treatment. Its AIDS drug Viread has now been FDA-approved as a treatment for chronic hepatitis B, joining Gilead's first hep B treatment Hepsera, which accounted for $303 million in 2007 sales. The FDA's nod on Viread was based on two trials that showed it was better than Hepsera at combatting inflammation and scarring caused by the virus.

Analysts say the market for hepatitis B drugs is significant, because few of the more than 1 million people in the U.S. infected with the virus actually have been diagnosed.

- check out Gilead's release
- read the story in the International Herald Tribune