Reuters Health Information (2005-05-17): Vertex says investigational drug rapidly suppresses hepatitis C virus
Drug & Device Development
Vertex says investigational drug rapidly suppresses hepatitis C virus
Last Updated: 2005-05-17 15:21:44 -0400 (Reuters Health)
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. on
Tuesday said half of hepatitis C patients taking its experimental drug
VX-950 in an early-stage trial tested negative for the virus 14 days
after beginning treatment.
The tiny U.S. biotechnology company said the patients received a
750-mg dose of the drug every 8 hours during the 2-week phase I trial.
Results of the 34-patient study, which was conducted among patients
with the hardest-to-treat genotype 1 strain of the virus, were
presented at the annual Digestive Disease Week scientific meeting being
held in Chicago.
"The big surprise is that half of patients in 14 days in this drug
group went below levels of virus detection," Vertex Chief Executive
Officer Joshua Boger told Reuters.
By contrast, he said current two-drug treatments typically must be
taken for 3 months before half of patients reach undetectable levels of
the virus, and then must be taken another nine months to make sure the
virus does not re-emerge.
Another patient in the Vertex-sponsored trial also tested negative for the virus after receiving a different dose of VX-950.
Detectable levels of hepatitis C returned in two of the five
virus-negative patients a month after the Vertex trial concluded, but
Boger said he is hopeful longer treatment in bigger future trials will
prevent the virus from re-emerging after it is suppressed.