Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY) today announced the full results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, from a Phase II clinical trial in patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1 who had not responded to prior therapy with PEG-interferon alfa and ribavirin ('null responders'). The study demonstrated that its primary endpoint of the achievement of sustained virologic response 12-weeks post-treatment (SVR12) is possible with a direct-acting antiviral (DAA)-only combination containing daclatasvir and asunaprevir (4/11 patients, including two of two patients infected with HCV genotype 1b). This study was the first study to demonstrate the possibility that hepatitis C can be cured (defined as sustained virologic response 48 weeks post-treatment or SVR48) without the use of interferon. The study also demonstrated that 100 percent (10/10) of these difficult-to-treat patients dosed with quadruple therapy containing daclatasvir and asunaprevir in combination with PEG-Interferon alfa and ribavirin achieved SVR12.
“Even with the recent approval of two protease inhibitors, treatment of hepatitis C patients who have not responded to PEG-interferon alfa and ribavirin has limited success. Because of this high unmet medical need, there is a necessity for new combination regimens that can increase response rates in null responders”
In this study there were no serious adverse events on treatment or discontinuations due to adverse events. Diarrhea was the most common adverse event in both groups (73% and 70%).
"Even with the recent approval of two protease inhibitors, treatment of hepatitis C patients who have not responded to PEG-interferon alfa and ribavirin has limited success. Because of this high unmet medical need, there is a necessity for new combination regimens that can increase response rates in null responders," said lead investigator Anna Lok, MD, FRCP, director of clinical hepatology and professor in the department of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor. "The data seen in this study with Bristol-Myers Squibb's investigational DAAs daclatasvir and asunaprevir, either as DAA-only therapy or as part of quadruple therapy, are encouraging as we work to advance hepatitis C therapy for this difficult-to-treat patient population. This study also shows for the very first time that sustained viral responses can be achieved without the use of interferon and ribavirin."
Daclatasvir is the first NS5A replication complex inhibitor to be investigated in HCV clinical trials and is currently in Phase III development. Asunaprevir is an investigational, oral, selective NS3 protease inhibitor.