Scott Brun, AbbVie's head of drug development, suggested the company may be able to bring its hepatitis C treatment to market faster than Gilead Sciences can introduce its own, reported Bloomberg.
The executive said AbbVie's unnamed multi-drug therapy is in Phase III testing, adding that "we've got a very good shot at being first…It is a very tight race."
With Gilead's and AbbVie's drugs possibly coming onto the market about the same time, Brun remarked that "we don't know where the efficacy is ultimately going to fall out."
Marshall Gordon, an analyst with ClearBridge, said "the idea is Gilead will be first, AbbVie will be on roughly the same timeline, [and another hepatitis C therapy developed by] Bristol-Myers Squibb will be somewhere after that."
In a Phase II trial, Gilead's all-oral hepatitis C treatments sofosbuvir and ledipasvir cured 95 percent of patients after eight weeks of the therapy, while AbbVie's treatment will require three pills in the morning and one at night, according to Brun.
In a Phase II trial of AbbVie's treatment, 90 percent of patients who completed the eight-week regimen had the virus cleared from their body. "To be fair, Gilead's drug looks better, but not that much better," Gordon said.