100%! Gilead's Perfect Results One-Up Abbott

Gilead Sciences (NAS: GILD) is starting the week off on the right foot. Shares of the biotech titan are indicated to rise around 10% this morning following a Saturday press release detailing interim phase 2 results of its combination therapy targeting hepatitis C. The news release came in the middle of The Liver Meeting 2012, a medical conference sponsored by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. Abbott Laboratories (NYS: ABT) also released additional data for its developmental hepatitis C treatment during the meetings.

Gilead's all-oral regimen includes two new drugs, GS-7977 and GS-5885, along with existing anti-viral medication ribavirin. At the four-week mark following a 12-week course of treatment, Gilead reported a cure rate of 100% for treatment-naive patients (those not receiving previous treatment for the disease). While not apples-to-apples, Gilead's data bested a 12-week cure rate of 97% for an all-oral regimen from Abbott Labs consisting of three drugs alongside ribavirin. Both companies are moving forward with phase 3 trials, with Gilead's already under way and Abbott beginning patient recruitment.

The results from both companies are staggering when compared to existing treatment options for the disease. Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NAS: VRTX) showed a 79% cure rate in phase 3 trials for its hepatitis C drug Incivek, in which the course of treatment is longer and requires patients to endure the nasty side effects of interferon injections. If successful in phase 3 trials, both treatments are likely to become blockbuster players in a market estimated to exceed $15 billion. However, Gilead's combination has the edge in terms of convenience, requiring patients to take fewer pills over the 12-week course of treatment.

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The article 100%! Gilead's Perfect Results One-Up Abbott originally appeared on Fool.com.

Brenton Flynn has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Gilead Sciences. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Gilead Sciences and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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