Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a viral infection of the liver that causes both acute and chronic infection, and according to the World Health Organization in 2017, chronically affects an estimated 71 million people worldwide, including 3.5 million in the United States. Chronic HCV infection can lead to fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer. Approximately 399,000 people die each year from hepatitis C, mostly from cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma.
We believe the future of the hepatitis C market belongs to direct acting antiviral drugs (DAAs) that are effective against all or multiple hepatitis C genotypes, have a high barrier to resistance, and have a short treatment duration. The best therapies are cocktails of several DAAs. Our focus is on developing what are now called ultrashort treatment regimens from 2 to 6 weeks in length. Such a combination treatment with different classes of DAAs has the potential to change the paradigm of treatment for HCV with its efficacy, higher barrier to viral resistance, improved compliance, and shorter duration of treatment. These strategies could allow us to expand and broaden our portfolio in the HCV antiviral therapeutic area globally, and could lead to a high and fast cure rate, to improve compliance, and to simplified treatment duration. No competing company has yet developed a short duration HCV treatment of 4 weeks or less successfully with a high (>95%) sustained virologic response (SVR) at week 12.
To learn more about hepatitis C, please visit the information page at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).