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New Hepatitis C Drug Appears to be More Effective than Previous Ones

Update Date: Feb 19, 2013 08:15 PM EST

People suffering from liver diseases may have a new answer to their health problem. Gilead Sciences Inc's recent press release revealed promising results from its newest hepatitis C drug, sofosbuvir. Although the drug is still in its experimental stages, the results from the clinical study are promising. 

According to the press release, patients with genotype two and three of liver disease had a significantly higher cure percentage after receiving 16 weeks of treatment. Patients who received 12 weeks of treatment had lower rates with a ratio of 50 percent as opposed to 73 percent from the 16 weeks trial. Both lengths of treatment, however, produced higher rates than current medicine. 

Sanford Bernstein's analyst, Geoffrey Porges stated: "We believe these results represent the final piece of de-risking for the asset, and approval is as close to certainty as it can be." Due to these results, the shares for Gilead Sciences Inc has gone up 70 cents, equivalent to 1.7 percent on Tuesday. 

The drug trial has also concluded the different effects sofosbuvir has depending on the type of liver disease. For example, the most recent trial showed that patients with genotype two benefited more from the drug than patients with genotype three. Gilead Sciences Inc noted the significance in getting better results for genotype three before the drug can be approved and thus, the clinical study also observed possible drug combination options to maximize effectiveness. Sofosbuvir was used in conjunction with an oral hepatitis treatment called ribavirin. So far, the results have not been recorded, but patients in this trial have not dropped out due to any adverse reactions. However, a small number of patients did experience side effects, such as headaches, insomnia, and fatigue, from taking the drug. 

Regardless, Gilead Sciences Inc is optimistic about this new drug, which also proved to be effective for patients who can not take interferon because of the side effects that the standard hepatitis C drug produced. The company is focused on increasing their promising cure rates for patients with genotype two and three, and ultimately producing a quality drug to help with hepatitis C. 

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