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AbbVie (ABBV) HCV Combination Drug Positive in Phase IIIb


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AbbVie Inc. (ABBV - Analyst Report) announced positive results from the phase IIIb study, Garnet, on a combination of its hepatitis drugs Viekirax (ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir tablets) and Exviera (dasabuvir tablets) for the treatment of patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection without liver cirrhosis.
Garnet is a phase IIIb, multicenter, open-label, single-arm study. It was designed to investigate the safety and efficacy of a combination of Viekirax and Exviera without ribavirin. The study enrolled 166 patients across 20 sites in the world, with 163 patients suffering from a GT1b chronic HCV infection without cirrhosis. The study met its primary endpoint with 98% of patients achieving a sustained virologic response at 12 weeks after treatment. In fact, the study showed high response rates within just eight weeks of treatment with the combination medicine.
The data were presented at the 2016 EASL Special Conference, New Perspectives in Hepatitis C Virus Infection in Paris, France.
Adverse events reported in the study were mostly mild, with one patient discontinuing treatment.
AbbVie’s leading HCV treatment, Viekira Pak, an all-oral, short-course, interferon-free therapy, with or without ribavirin, was approved by the FDA in Dec 2014. In Jan 2015, a combination of Viekirax and Exviera was approved in Europe for the treatment of genotype 1 (GT1) chronic HCV infection. Viekirax is also approved in Europe for the treatment of chronic HCV genotype 4 (GT4) infections.
Genotype 1 is the most prevalent of the six major HCV genotypes. Around 160 million people worldwide are infected with HCV, with genotype 1 accounting for approximately 51.8% of the total HCV infected patients. The approval, thus, gave the company access to a huge potential patient population.
Zacks Rank & Key Picks
AbbVie currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in health care sector include Anika Therapeutics Inc (ANIK - Snapshot Report) , ANI Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ANIP - Snapshot Report) and Abbott Laboratories (ABT - Analyst Report) .

Anika Therapeutics’ earnings estimates for 2016 and 2017 were up a respective 12.6% and 14% over the last 60 days. The company has recorded a positive earnings surprise in each of the last four quarters with an average beat of 42.19%. Its share price has jumped 23.2% year to date. Anika Therapeutics currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
ANI Pharmaceuticals has a Zacks Rank #1 as well. The company witnessed an increase of 9.5% and 4.7% in its earnings estimates for 2016 and 2017, respectively, in the last 60 days. It has beaten earnings estimates twice in the last four quarters, bringing the average positive surprise to 46.85%. The company’s share price has surged 51.2% year to date.
Abbott Laboratories carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Over the past 60 days, the company’s earnings estimates for 2016 and 2017 were mostly unchanged. It has delivered a positive earnings surprise in all of the four quarters, resulting in an average beat of 3.11%. Share price of the company have dipped 1.7% year to date.

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