UPDATE 3-Human Genome hepatitis C drug disappoints, shares crash

lunes 9 de marzo de 2009 17:54 CET

* Trial meets main goal of non-inferiority

* Drug's SVR rates inferior to standard-of-care

* Shares fall almost 53 percent to all-time low (Adds trial details, updates share movement)

By Jennifer Robin Raj

BANGALORE, March 9 (Reuters) - Human Genome Sciences' HGSI.O drug to treat chronic hepatitis C met the main goal in a late-stage trial, but failed to show numerically better efficacy compared to standard-of-care, raising questions about the drug's adoption and sending shares crashing to an all-time low.

Analysts had expected the trial to meet its main goal of non-inferiority compared to Pegasys, but they had also said that the trial must show numerically better sustained virologic response (SVR) rates to convince the market of the drug's commercial viability. [ID:nBNG111094]

In the trial, named ACHIEVE 1, patients were either given the drug Albuferon every two weeks or standard-of-care Pegasys once weekly and the company said the rate of SVR among the two groups "was comparable".

"This means that you have a drug that is statistically comparable but for the vast majority of prescribers who have used Pegasys for ever, they are not going to change their prescribing trends based on this data," said Piper Jaffray analyst Edward Tenthoff.

The current standard of care for hepatitis C is antiviral ribavirin in combination with an interferon. Human Genome's Albuferon, which is a type of interferon, was also being studied in combination with ribavirin.   Continuación...