Vertex Hepatitis C Drug Wipes Out Virus For Toughest-to-Treat Patients

10/28/09Follow @xconomy

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: VRTX) is vying to set a new standard of care for hepatitis C in some of the toughest patients to treat, and today it is reporting some surprisingly strong evidence that suggests the drug is working like researchers hoped it would over the long haul.

The Cambridge, MA-based biotech company offered an interim peek at results from 117 patients who took its telaprevir compound after they failed to fully respond to standard therapy. Vertex looked at “null responder” patients who didn’t respond at all to prior therapy, and found that 16 out of 28 of them, or 57 percent, achieved a clinical cure after they got telaprevir in combination with another round of standard treatment. The clinical cure, known formally as sustained viral response, is achieved when the hepatitis C virus disappears from the blood for a full 24 weeks after the course of treatment.

Telaprevir had about the same effectiveness rate for patients who partially responded to an earlier round of treatment (55 percent achieved clinical cure), while that rate shot up to 90 percent for patients who initially were helped by standard therapy, but ended up relapsing later. These results were from a study known as ’107. Comparing separate clinical trials can be a dubious exercise because of apples-to-oranges issues, but the clinical cure rates Vertex is reporting today are higher than what it announced in April at a conference of the European Association for the Study of the Liver, in a separate study that also enrolled tough-to-treat patients, called Prove 3.

Side effects from this latest batch of results were consistent with what Vertex has seen in prior studies. Eight of the 117 patients quit taking their medication because of side effects, including four who dropped out because of rash, and one who cited anemia.

For those who are new to the Vertex story, here’s a quick refresher on why this all matters. Telaprevir is aiming to be a first-of-its-kind protease inhibitor against hepatitis C, a chronic liver disease. If it can deliver in the final stage of clinical trials, it will change the standard of treatment for the disease just as an earlier generation of antivirals did for HIV infection. The market is potentially huge, because an estimated 3.2 million people in the U.S. have hepatitis C infections, and about 650,000 have failed … Next Page »

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  • http://google milagros alvarado

    I have chronic hep c was dx in 2001, I have tried three different medications. I am still hep c pos. I am seeing a dr. at Mr. Sinai Hosp in new york city. I would like to start treatment of vertex what is my option I thinkits wonderful that Vertex can finally help people like me.

  • William Noviello

    I have had chronic hep c for over 10 years. Standaed treatment has not helped. How do I get on a list for the Vertex treatment.

    Sincererly,

    Bill Noviello

  • Gary House

    Wait until Teleprevir is approved before making any decisions.
    I have been geting ozone treatments in Germnat every tear since 1992 and I have nearly conquered any ill feeling, although I felt like death for a long time at the beginning.
    This is not some lull or intermittent improvement.
    I ahve no nausea, no more pain and have not had that “want to die” feeling for many years now.
    Ozone is not a cure, but it strengthened me to the point of where I might not even do another medicine.
    The ozone has to be the drip infusion method dome in Germany as ther is no one in the USA that does it correctly.
    The USA is full of quack ozone Doctors that inject ozone directly into a vein, which is a big mistake.
    In the ozone drip infusion correct German treatment method they take about 200 ml of blood into a vacuum bottle and infuse the ozone into the blood in the bottls.
    In 1992 I could hardly walk and I wanted to die from the deathly nausea, wekaness and deathly feeling all over my body.
    Ozone is the only thing that saved me and I can that from my heart.
    I have not one thing to gain by telling my story.
    Look for a German Doctor or Hellpraktiker that does Ozone.
    I go to Dirk Forstmeyer in Hannover, Germnat.
    He is not only sweet and honest, he has the most modern equipment and I nearly run out of there with energy and peace in my body and soul.
    I love German Ozone !
    It has saved me.
    Anyone cana call me ( GARY 407-409-4682 )
    I know 9f many Ozone Specialists in Germany but I say avoid any and all here in the USA.
    I know how to go there cheap and stay for a month cheap.
    I thank God for Ozone and German Technology !

  • Gary House

    SORRY, I REALLY CAN SPELL BUT I NEED NEW GLASSES AND MAKE A LOT OF TYPOS ! ;-)

  • matthew barbour

    i leave in New York and i had hope that i could defeat this problem in a natural way but im tired all the time having trouble maintaining my wieght i just wante to feel better like when i was physically fit

  • Michele

    Gary, Can Ozone help when you’ve been told that unless you get a liver transplant, you have approx. 1 year to live? Do you know?

  • Paul Boretski

    I am confused. My specialist told me that Vertex trials were not interested in me because am a null responder to Interferon and Ribavarin treatment and that I have cirrhosis. I truly do not know who to believe any more and that is extremely disheartening. I don’t know what is more damaging , the disease or the false hope.

  • Edith Grainger

    I just know that its hard to get treatment here when you cant afford it . I need treatment bad and my ins. will only pay a fraction of the cost. Where do we get help?

  • CARMEN AGUIRRECHU

    PLEASE I HAVE TRIED TWO DIFFERENT COURSES OF TREATMENT FOR MY HEP C. NO IMPROVMENT. I NOW HAVE CIRROSIS CAN THIS MEDICINE HELP
    PEOPLE LIKE ME? I FEEL FINE NO EFFECTS FROM BEING SICK, BUT I WANT TO LIVE I AM ONLY 56 YEARS OLD.

  • jimb

    Got my hopes up till I read it! I am allergic to Ribovarin (I get a rash) Doctor’s took me off treatment. This new Vertex sounds like the chance of Rash or side effects is greater for this type of treatment. So,,,,what if I just take Vertex,without Antiferon and Ribovarin. Is there a possibility it could still help? I’m willing to Guinee Pig.For science and to save my liver..

  • Roma

    Fatty Liver – Drugs for the treatment of hepatic steatosis
    Unfortunately, there is no treatment pharmacological able to completely solve the type of non-alcoholic hepatic steatosis, to said this, the drugs and treatments taken are intended to treat the causes and risk factors underlying the problem

  • Roma

    I recently read on your website that the Vertex-770 is reached in Phase 3 trials, given the good results we had so far on patients. How long will this phase? If the results of this phase were to continue to be positive, when the drug will be available in the U.S., Europe and Italy? Finally would like to know whether this drug is indicated for all missense mutations and in particular for the mutation N1303K. Sincerely