Company news: Merck, Gilead
Gilead is preparing to attack the hepatitis C virus with an all-oral regimen. The company is set to start a Phase III drug study in the fourth quarter evaluating the combination of Gilead's nucleotide analog GS-7977 with GS-5885, an NS5A inhibitor, in genotype 1 HCV patients. Earlier this year, a study evaluating GS-7977 with Bristol-Myers Squibb's NS5A inhibitor daclatasvir showed the combo cleared the virus in more than 95% of patients across a broad spectrum of genotypes. If everything stays on track, Gilead could have results to submit for regulatory reviewers by 2014. Gilead paid $11 billion for Pharmasset, which developed GS-7977. The CDC says hepatitis C is the most common chronic blood borne infection in the US.