Monday, November 10, 2014

No Four Week Cure For Hep C -- Merck & Gilead Announce, In Boston

Merck had hoped to cut treatment times with its NS3/4A protease inhibitor candidate, grazoprevir and its NS5A inhibitor candidate, elbasvir, in a mid-stage trial with Gilead's sofosbuvir, as a Hep C combo therapy. But to be clear, this doesn't mean the death of the programs at Merck, generally -- it just means that any hope that Merck could offer a shorter path to the cure, this way. . . likely won't pan out. So, the question becomes what competitive advantage can Merck's candidates hope to offer, head to head, against Gilead's juggernaut?

Not material, at all -- but that (head to head) looks like a dead letter. Per SeekinigAlpha:

. . . .At The Liver Meeting in Boston, Merck (NYSE:MRK) presented interim data on its triple-therapy regimen for HCV-1 infection. The investigational product combines the company's NS3/4A protease inhibitor, grazoprevir and its NS5A inhibitor, elbasvir, with Sovaldi (sofosbuvir). . . .

Recall also that Merck is seeking 10 per cent of all Gilead's revenue on Solvaldi® -- in various patent suits. "Keep your enemies. . . closer." Onward, to face. . . Monday!

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