Bristol-Myers Gains Momentum with All-Oral Hep C Therapy
Bristol-Myers Hepatitis C Pills Clear Virus Without Injections
By Drew Armstrong and Robert Langreth
Jan. 19 (Bloomberg) — Combining two experimental Bristol- Myers Squibb Co. pills cleared the hepatitis C virus in 36 percent of patients not helped by a standard treatment, in a small study testing a new approach against the liver disease.
The study is the first to suggest that difficult hepatitis C cases may be cured without using the injected drug interferon, said Anna Lok, the lead study author and director of hepatology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Interferon, a mainstay of existing treatment, causes unpleasant side effects including fatigue and flu-like symptoms.
Drug companies including Bristol-Myers, Merck & Co., Gilead Sciences Inc., and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. are racing to come up with interferon-free treatment. The new results in 21 patients show that such a therapy will be possible, Lok said.
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