Friday, November 9, 2012

Adam Feuerstein On The AASLD Meeting-Abbott vs. Gilead


Biotech Stock Mailbag: Sarepta, Acadia, Vical and a Hep C Preview
Excerpt - click here to read complete article

Gary B. emails, "What are your predictions for hepatitis C stocks at the meeting this weekend?"
I predict chaos and confusion. I long ago stopped expecting closure or certainty from these AASLD meetings. Hepatitis C drug development is too volatile. 
Here's what to look for this weekend: 
The AASLD media embargo lifts on Saturday at 9 a.m. Eastern time.

Abbott(ABT) and Gilead Sciences(GILD) have told me that press releases with up-to-date data on their respective all-oral regimens will be issued at that time.

Abbott vs. Gilead is the main event at AASLD this year.  
Abbott has set the efficacy bar high already with SVR12 "cure" rates of 96% to 99% in treatment-naive genotype 1 patients treated in its "AVIATOR" phase II study.

The Abbott drugs studied in AVIATOR were ABT-450, a protease inhibitor that requires blood-boosting with ritonavir; ABT-267, a NS5A inhibitor; and ABT-333, a "non-nuc" polymerase inhibitor. Ribavirin, a current backbone in hepatitis C treatment, was also included in some but not all of the combination regimens.

On Saturday, Abbott will announce updated results from the AVIATOR study.

Gilead will counter with SVR4 cure-rate data from the ELECTRON study involving a combination regimen of the nucleoside inhibitor GS-7977 and the NS5A inhibitor GS-5885, plus or minus ribavirin. ELECTRON also enrolls treatment-naive, genotype 1 hepatitis C patients.

Bristol-Myers Squibb(BMY) may shine on the undercard. Watch for SVR12 cure-rate data from the phase II combination of Bristol's NS5A inhibitor daclatasvir in combination with Gilead's GS-7997. While this combination isn't being moved into phase III, results will be viewed as a proxy for Gilead's '7977/'5885 combination. 
On its own, Bristol will also be presenting data on a combination therapy involving daclatasvir, asunaprevir (a protease inhibitor) and the non-nuc BMS-791325.
I'm attending the AASLD meeting, which starts tomorrow and runs through Tuesday, so I'll have lots more to say about hepatitis C over the weekend and next week.

Continue Reading @ The Street
Read previous and future articles by Adam Feuerstein here....

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