Decision Resources, one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that data from recent clinical trials suggest that Vertex/Johnson & Johnson/Mitsubishi Tanabe's telaprevir is efficacious in hepatitis C virus patients who have not responded to previous treatment with peg-IFN/ribavirin. In contrast, the efficacy of Merck's (formerly Schering-Plough) boceprevir in treatment nonresponders has yet to be proven.

Owing to their novel mechanisms of action (HCV protease inhibition) and the need for new hepatitis C virus therapies, both telaprevir and boceprevir are likely therapeutic options for prior treatment nonresponders. However, due to potentially shorter treatment duration for some patients and proven efficacy in treatment nonresponders, telaprevir may likely be viewed more positively by clinicians than boceprevir, following the expected launches of both drugs in 2011 in the United States.

The launches and uptake of telaprevir and boceprevir will be key drivers of substantial $5.4 billion growth in the overall hepatitis C virus drug market through 2013. Analysis of data from the C107 telaprevir clinical trial further supports previously available data regarding the high efficacy of telaprevir in treatment nonresponders, while subanalysis of data from the SPRINT-1 boceprevir clinical trial conducted in treatment-naive patients only indirectly suggest that boceprevir has potential efficacy in treatment nonresponders. Late last year, novel results from the C107 trial and highlights of previously reported data from the SPRINT-1 trial were presented during the annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

"Telaprevir demonstrated high efficacy in both treatment-naive and nonresponder patients as well as an opportunity for shorter treatment duration for at least some types of patients who previously failed peg-IFN/ribavirin treatment," said Decision Resources Analyst Alexandra Makarova, M.D., Ph.D. "Relative to boceprevir, telaprevir's potential shorter treatment duration is indeed an advantage for telaprevir."

The Pharmacor finding from the topic entitled Hepatitis C Virus also reveals that the competitive hepatitis C virus pipeline is characterized by its significant commercial potential. The launches of several agents currently in late-stage development -- most notably telaprevir, boceprevir and Roche/Pharmasset's R-7128 -- will help to expand the market dramatically from $2 billion in 2008 to nearly $7.4 billion in 2013 in the world's major pharmaceutical markets. However, market growth thereafter will decrease through 2018 owing to a decline in the prevalence of the disease and the high efficacy of new treatment regimens.

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