AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) today announced that the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) has granted priority review for its investigational, two direct-acting antiviral treatment of ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir. This all-oral treatment is interferon (IFN) and ribavirin (RBV)-free and will be dosed once daily. The MHLW grants priority review to certain medicines on the basis of clinical usefulness and severity of the disease, including diseases like hepatitis C, which affects approximately 1.5 to 2 million people in Japan. AbbVie's investigational hepatitis C treatment was submitted for marketing approval in Japan in February 2015. The New Drug Application is for the treatment of patients with genotype 1 (GT1) chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and is supported by the Phase 3 GIFT-I study in Japanese genotype 1b (GT1b) HCV patients.
"AbbVie is pleased that the Japanese MHLW has granted priority review for our interferon and ribavirin-free, 12-week, two direct-acting antiviral treatment regimen. This marks another important advancement in our HCV clinical development program as we aim to provide our HCV treatment to patients across the world," said Scott Brun, M.D., vice president, pharmaceutical development, AbbVie. "If approved, AbbVie's HCV treatment holds the potential to be a promising new treatment option for patients living with this chronic infection in Japan."
AbbVie studied a two direct-acting antiviral treatment regimen without RBV in Japan due to patient and viral characteristics specific to the Japanese population, including high prevalence of GT1b. In Japan, GT1 is the most common HCV genotype and accounts for 60 to 70 percent of all patients infected with HCV. Of those patients, about 95 percent are infected with the GT1b sub-type.