Why Gilead Sciences, Inc. And AbbVie Are Keeping An Eye On Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Published: Dec 15, 2014
December 12, 2014
By Krystle Vermes, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
Investors are watching Abbvie’s hepatitis C drug closely as Gilead Sciences looks to win approval for a similar drug from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration later this month. However, Achillion Pharmaceuticals is also drawing attention as it looks create an adjunct therapy for Gilead Sciences’ Sovaldi – one of the most promising hepatitis C treatments available on the market.
Making Way for Sovaldi
Sovaldi, also known as sofosbuvir, was officially approved by the FDA for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C back in December 2013. The once-daily oral tablet showed that it could reduce symptoms – and even cure – hepatitis C in a majority of patients.
“It is our hope that Sovaldi will mark the beginning of a new era in hepatitis C treatment. Gilead is proud to have played a role in bringing about this important therapeutic advance and we would like to extend our thanks to the many patients and physicians who partnered with us on Sovaldi’s clinical studies,” John Martin, chairman and chief executive officer of Gilead Sciences, said at the time of the approval.
The Development of ACH-3102
Achillion Pharmaceuticals is working on ACH-3102, an adjunctive therapy for Sovaldi, in hope of providing better outcomes for patients who are taking Sovaldi. ACH-3102 is a second-generation NS5A inhibitor that has received Fast Track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Currently, Achillion is conducting a phase 2 study of the drug to evaluate its efficacy in combination with sofosbuvir in HCV patients. Thus far, ACH-3102 has shown robust antiviral activity.
At the annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases in mid-November, Achillion presented the findings of its ongoing phase 2 study thus far. Achillion stated that out of the 12 patients treated, 100 percent had achieved sustained viral response at the 12-week mark. No post-treatment viral relapse has been observed so far in the trial.
The hepatitis C virus is the most common cause of viral hepatitis, which results in the inflammation of the liver. Approximately 150 million people are thought to be living with the virus around the world, and 5 million of them live in the U.S. Approximately three-fourths of the population living with HCV is undiagnosed, and allowing the disease to go untreated can result in liver cancer, liver failure or death.