Vertex Treatment Safe in Hepatitis C Clinical Study

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX) said on Thursday that its experimental hepatitis C treatment proved to be safe and tolerable in a mid-stage study.

In the Phase II study of 106 people with genotype 1 chronic hepatitis C who were new to treatment, 90% of the patients in one of four groups that took the drug, called VX-222, in combination with telaprevir, pegylated-interferon and ribavirin, had undetectable hepatitis C virus at week 12.

Even more promising, some 57% in that group had undetectable hepatitis C virus by week two.

“The early data from this study are encouraging because they showed patients had a very rapid decline in hepatitis C virus as early as the second week of treatment,” said Dr. Adrian Di Bisceglie, chief of hepatology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. “Hepatitis C virus was undetectable at week 12 of treatment in 90 percent of patients who received the higher dose of VX-222, and half of those in this treatment group were eligible to stop all treatment at that time.”

The most frequently reported adverse events were mild gastrointestinal symptoms and mild fatigue.