Sovaldi launch trounces Incivek's

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Gilead's launch of hepatitis C medication Sovaldi is looking turbo-charged: The Street's Adam Feuerstein tracked down IMS Health data that show new prescriptions rose around 70% the week ended January 10, but more important is the context: pulling a graph from ISI Group analyst Mark Schoenebaum, Feuerstein shows how Sovaldi's launch compares with that of Vertex's protease inhibitor Incivek. The comparison shows Sovaldi's initial push drwarfs that of once-novel Incivek—with prescription numbers more than triple those of Incivek's in the first five weeks of launch.

The FDA approved Gilead's drug in December. The regulator and drugmaker surprised analysts by including an all-oral gentotype-1 indication among the approved uses.

Schoenebaum noted at the time that he did not expect doctors would jump on the genotype 1 injection-free treatment option, saying there was little data to back this option, and that Gilead is expected to launch a “simpler (likely around $100K), cheaper, safer and more effective regimen in about a year,” for this same population.

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