Merck Hepatitis C combo successful in Phase II trial


A combination of Merck (MRK) oral drugs MK-5172 and MK-8742 led to high cure rates in a Phase II trial of 65 previously untreated patients with Hepatitis C.

When given on their own, the combination had cured 100% of subjects after 12 weeks; when administered with the older drug ribavin, the success rate was 96%.

Merck joins a list of other major pharmaceutical companies with Hepatitis C drugs that have shown high promise in trials, including Gilead (GILD) - whose Sofosbuvir appears to be close to receiving FDA approval - Bristol Myers Squibb (BMY) and AbbVie (ABBV). (PR)

Meanwhile, Merck's V503 vaccine for human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted virus that can cause cervical and other cancers, seems to have provided wider protection than the company's Gardasil shot in a Phase III trial .

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