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Abbott rises on hepatitis C drug data

Abbott Laboratories said Monday thits experimental hepatitis C drug regimen cured 99 percent patients midstage study with most commhardest-to-tretype disease.

Abbott Laboratories said Monday that its experimental hepatitis C drug regimen cured 99 percent of patients in a midstage study with the most common and hardest-to-treat type of the disease. | Sun-Times Media file

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Updated: November 17, 2012 6:13AM



ABBOTT PARK — Abbott Laboratories said Monday that its experimental hepatitis C drug regimen cured 99 percent of patients in a midstage study with the most common and hardest-to-treat type of the disease.

Patients who took a three-drug regimen and the drugs Ritonavir and ribavirin had undetectable virus levels after 12 weeks of treatment. The company said the treatment observed a 93 percent cure rate in a group of patients who were not helped by other treatments.

Abbott said full results from the study will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease in Boston early next month.

Patients in the trial had genotype 1 hepatitis C, which is the most common type in the Western world and the hardest to treat. The regimen did not include interferon, a standard component of hepatitis C therapy that causes flu-like side effects that can last for months. The study included 77 patients who hadn’t been treated before and 41 patients who were not helped by other treatments.

Abbott shares rose $2.27, or 3.3 percent, to $71.55 in afternoon trading. The stock has been trading around all-time highs and peaked at $71.99 earlier in Monday’s session.

Hepatitis C is a virus that can lead to life-threatening liver damage and is the main cause of liver transplants in the U.S. Analysts say the market for treatments is potentially lucrative for drugmakers, especially with more people expected to be diagnosed with the tough-to-treat disease as the baby boomer generation ages.



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