J&J's newly approved Olysio to rival Merck and Vertex entries in hep C market

Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) won FDA approval for Olysio (simeprevir), its drug to treat hepatitis C, in combination with standard treatments interferon and ribavirin. The drug blocks the protease enzyme that allows the hepatitis virus to replicate, putting it in the same class as Merck's ($MRK) Victrelis and Vertex Pharmaceuticals' ($VRTX) Incivek, both of which were approved in 2011 and have been struggling. Sales of Victrelis fell 10% to $347 million in the first 9 months of this year, while sales of Incivek fell by more than half to $447 million. Release | Report