Abbott wows the crowd with promising Phase II hep C data

You can count Abbott as a key player in the hot hepatitis C drug development race. 

The pharma company ($ABT) reported that in one study of ABT-450 (a protease inhibitor), Norvir, ABT-333 and ribavirin, more than 90% of the small group of treatment-naïve patients experienced a sustained virological response after 12 weeks of treatment. Almost half of the previously treated patients in the study achieved SVR12. In an even smaller study of 11 treatment naïve patients, 10 achieved SVR24 after being treated with ABT-450 boosted by Norvir, ribavirin, and ABT-072. And that data means that Abbott now has a shot at cracking the market for new interferon-free therapies.

"This demonstrates unprecedented cure rates for the most common form of hepatitis C infection. And we were able to achieve those rates with only a 12-week duration of therapy," Abbott's Scott Brun noted, according to a report from Reuters. "At EASL it's going to be very clear that we've reached a really transformational moment for patients with HCV (hepatitis C virus)." Larger Phase II studies are under way.

In recent months, big buyout deals have helped underscore the potential for the hepatitis C field. The positive data is particularly important for Abbott's pharma group, which is looking to burnish its development rep as it spins off into a new company. Today's news will help that process along.

- get the Dow Jones story
- here's the Reuters article