Pharmasset impresses with oral HepC treatment

Investors appear bullish about Pharmasset ($VRUS) after the developer showed off some intriguing data on a therapy against Hepatitis C that doesn't require injections like regiments that include Merck's ($MRK) and Vertex's ($VRTX) drugs do. The Street's Adam Feuerstein reported this morning that the liver-damaging virus was at undetectable levels in 10 patients who got a combo of Pharmasset's experimental PSI-7977 and ribavirin--both oral drugs--after four weeks of treatment.

Pharmasset's PSI-7977 has been a closely watched drug candidate in the white-hot HepC market. Today, the company's stock price jumped on the data included in an abstract for November's American Association of the Study of Liver Disease annual meeting, Feuerstein reports. The data provide promise that the experimental drug could rapidly wipe out the virus without patients having to take injections of interferon, reducing some of the complexity and potential side effects of treatment.

Shares of Pharmasset were trading at about $83.50 this morning, up about 8% and nearing the high end of its 52-week range of $76.25 and $85.32, according to Google Finance.

- read Feuerstein's report