Pharmasset Hepatitis C Drug Does Well in Study

Shares of Pharmasset (NASDAQ:VRUS) climbed on Tuesday after the company announced positive results for its hepatitis C drug in a mid-stage study.

The drug maker said 98% of the patients that had never before been treated for the virus had no detectable virus levels in their blood 12 weeks after treatment was completed.

Study participants were given either 400mg or 200mg doses of the drug, PSI-7977, once a day for 12 weeks in combination with the current standard treatment for hepatitis C.

I am very pleased with the results of this study which clearly demonstrate the benefit of the 400 mg dose of PSI-7977 with only 24 weeks of interferon for all subjects, said Dr. Eric Lawitz, the study's principal investigator.

"HCV therapy is becoming overly complex, and the elimination of 24 weeks of interferon and ribavirin as well as all response guided criteria for patients with HCV genotype 1 would be a welcomed simplification," he added.

Results of the study, named Proton, will be officially revealed as part of a presidential plenary session at the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases on November 8.