As I Predicted, Gilead’s Sofosbuvir Likely To “Leapfrog” Merck’s MK-5172, In Hep C

More news is developing out of Amsterdam, at the EASL — as studies and papers are presented, as of Saturday night, European time. The upshot? These latest tea leaves suggest I was, indeed, right last week: Gilead looks to have the lead dog in the next gen Hep C space. One might even call it the full-on cure. But the study was actually too small to say that with a highly scientific degree of confidence.

But this does make the joint-BMS Daclatasvir combo with MK-5172 announcement look decidedly less exciting — as doctors are likely to go off label, and prescribe a homemade combo of Sofosbuvir and Daclatasvir, as soon as they are able. True, there could yet be an off-target effect problem — or some other glitch — but I now doubt that.

Do go read the Bloomberg piece, in total — but here’s a bit:

. . . .In a study among 41 patients of Gilead’s sofosbuvir combined with Bristol’s daclatasvir, with or without the generic antiviral ribavirin, 40 had undetectable virus in their blood 12 weeks after finishing six months of treatment, according to results presented today at a meeting in Amsterdam. The other patient didn’t turn up to the last appointment and was later found to be virus-clear. Patients in both groups had failed prior treatment with either Vertex’s Incivek or Merck’s Victrelis. . . .

Small study? True. But this suggests the effective cure for Hep C — even the most resistant varieties — is at hand.

Except for the fact that the combos are likely to cost nearly $100,000 for a course of treament, this is extremely good news for science — and for the perhaps 170 million people suffering with Hep C, around the world.

The world is changing, in the land of Hep C treatments — and rapidly. In some ways, this is akin to the momment when polio was cured, just under 60 years ago, now. That is a heady thought.

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