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In HCV, Protease Race Heats Up with Combo Therapy Looming

Executive Summary

Two Phase III hepatitis C protease inhibitors from Vertex and Schering are set to reshape treatment for a difficult disease and potentially capture a significant chunk of a large and growing market. But other new therapies and combination regimens aren't far behind.

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Start-Ups Look For Places In Future HCV Combo Regimens

With more than 50 drugs in development for hepatitis C, what comes next after first-generation protease inhibitors and what opportunity might there be for small start-up firms in a space where so many Big Pharma and specialty pharma companies are active? Approvals of direct-acting antiviral therapies are just around the corner in hepatitis C, and smaller companies are looking to provide parts of the puzzle in next-generation drug cocktails that will tackle the growing disease. However, in order for small companies to succeed in this highly competitive space they'll need highly differentiated products. START-UP profiles AiCuris, Avila Therapeutics, Okairos, Viroblock and Zirus.

Novartis Boosts HCV Portfolio With First-in-Class Debiopharm Compound

Hepatitis C sector heats up as Novartis gains rights to Debiopharm's leading cyclophilin inhibitor

New Biomarker Impact on HCV Therapy and Clinical Trials

It's extraordinarily rare for a biomarker discovery to have a fast, clear-cut, and significant impact on a therapeutic area. But recent findings from a hepatitis C study--that a specific genetic variation strongly correlates with response to standard interferon-based therapy--could influence decision-making on when and how to treat certain HCV patients. What's more, the research may influence the design of clinical trials of new HCV agents and even trials in other diseases treated with interferon.

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