AbbVie, a global biopharmaceutical company, today announced that the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) approved VIEKIRAX® (ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir), as a new interferon and ribavirin-free treatment option for adult patients with chronic genotype 1 (GT1) hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, including those with compensated liver cirrhosis.1 VIEKIRAX consists of a 12-week, two direct-acting antiviral, fixed-dose combination of paritaprevir/ritonavir with ombitasvir, dosed once daily.
"Today's approval represents an important step forward for the treatment of Japanese patients, a population with specific needs based on patient and viral characteristics," said Jean-Michel Pawlotsky, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at the University of Paris-Est, France. "VIEKIRAX is a valuable new addition to a number of treatments that are changing the face of hepatitis C, making it possible to achieve high virologic cure rates, even in patients whose disease has progressed to compensated liver cirrhosis."
Japan has one of the highest rates of hepatitis C infection in the industrialized world, with approximately 1.5 to 2 million people living with HCV.2, 3 Genotype 1 is the most common HCV genotype in Japan with 60 to 70 percent of patients infected and, of those, about 95 percent are infected with the genotype 1b (GT1b) sub-type.4
"We are pleased to provide VIEKIRAX as a new treatment that offers a high probability of virologic cure for GT1b HCV patients and are working to support access to our treatment in Japan," said Michael Severino, M.D., executive vice president, research and development and chief scientific officer, AbbVie. "We are also prioritizing disease education and awareness by collaborating with stakeholders to identify and address the diverse challenges across Japan, such as supporting screening and diagnosis initiatives, and providing accurate information to the medical community about treatment options."
The approval is supported by the Phase 3 GIFT-I study.1 An overall 95 percent (n=140/148) of treatment-naïve and 94 percent (n=102/109) of treatment-experienced GT1b HCV infected patients achieved SVR12 with VIEKIRAX.1
The primary endpoint was achieved, demonstrating 95 percent (n=106/112) SVR12 in a sub-group of treatment-naïve, non-cirrhotic, adult GT1b HCV infected Japanese patients who were eligible for therapy with interferon (IFN) and had a high viral load. A secondary endpoint in GT1b HCV patients with compensated cirrhosis achieved 91 percent (n=38/42) SVR12.5
Across all treatment arms three patients (n=3/363) experienced on-treatment virologic failure, eight patients (n=8/354) experienced post-treatment relapse and three patients discontinued treatment due to adverse events. The most commonly reported adverse events (>5 percent in any arm) were nasopharyngitis, headache, peripheral edema, nausea, pyrexia and decreased platelet count.5 In April 2015, AbbVie was granted priority review by the MHLW for VIEKIRAX, on the basis of clinical usefulness of the treatment and recognizing the severity and unmet need of the disease in Japan.
About the GIFT-I Study5
GIFT-I comprises 363 patients in two sub-studies.
In sub-study 1, 321 genotype 1b (GT1b) patients without cirrhosis, both treatment-naïve and interferon (IFN) [with or without ribavirin (RBV)] treatment-experienced, were randomized to receive either ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir (Arm A) [OBV/PTV/r] or placebo (Arm B) [2:1 randomization ratio, stratified by treatment history, past response, viral load and IFN eligibility]. Patients initially randomized to placebo (Arm B) then received OBV/PTV/r for an additional 12 weeks of open-label treatment. Sustained virologic response was assessed 12 weeks post-treatment (SVR12) as a primary efficacy endpoint in a sub-group of previously untreated, non-cirrhotic GT1b patients who were eligible for therapy with IFN and had a high viral load, defined as an HCV RNA level ≥ 100,000 IU/mL and received at least one dose of the double-blind, active study drug.
In sub-study 2, 42 GT1b treatment-naïve and IFN (with or without RBV) treatment-experienced patients with compensated cirrhosis received open-label treatment for 12 weeks (Arm C) with SVR12 and assessed as a secondary efficacy endpoint.
One patient from each arm (n=3/363) experienced on-treatment virologic failure [Arm A, 0.5% (n=1/215); Arm B, 0.9% (n=1/106); Arm C, 2.4% (n=1/42)]. Across all arms, eight patients (n=8/354) experienced post-treatment relapse [Arm A, 2.4% (n=5/209); Arm B, 1.0% (n=1/105); Arm C, 5.0% (n=2/40)].
AbbVie studied its two direct-acting antiviral treatment regimen without RBV in Japan due to patient and viral characteristics specific to the Japanese population, including high prevalence of GT1b.
About VIEKIRAX in Japan
Indication in Japan
VIEKIRAX is indicated for the improvement of viremia in chronic hepatitis C or compensated hepatic cirrhosis C in patients of serogroup 1 (genotype 1).
Summary of Safety Information
VIEKIRAX is contraindicated in patients with a history of known hypersensitivity to an ingredient in VIEKIRAX, patients with severe hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh C) or patients being treated with the following drugs: azelnidipine, triazolam, iv midazolam, blonanserin, pimozide, ergotamine tartrate, dihydroergotamine mesilate, ergometrine maleate, methylergometrine maleate, sildenafil citrate [Revatio], tadalafil [Adcirca], rivaroxaban, vardenafil hydrochloride hydrate, riociguat, simvastatin, atorvastatin calcium hydrate, carbamazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital, rifampin, efavirenz, foods containing St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum), ethinyl estradiol-containing medicinal products.
Precautions for Use
Positive result for HCV RNA should be confirmed before administering VIEKIRAX and decompensated cirrhosis should be excluded.
When VIEKIRAX is used for patients co-infected with HIV/HCV, administer VIEKIRAX only to patients whose virological suppression has been achieved by anti-HIV therapy as ritonavir may cause resistance against a HIV protease inhibitor.
During the administration of VIEKIRAX, perform liver function tests regularly because hepatic function disorder may occur.
Co-administration of VIEKIRAX with drugs that are substrates of CYP3A4, P-gp, BCRP, OATP1B1 or OATP1B3 may result in increased plasma concentrations of such drugs, potentially requiring dose adjustment or clinical monitoring.
The safety of VIEKIRAX in pregnant women has not been established. VIEKIRAX should be used in pregnant women and women who may possibly be pregnant only if the expected therapeutic benefits outweigh the possible risks associated with treatment.
Do not administer VIEKIRAX to nursing mothers. If VIEKIRAX is administered to a nursing mother by necessity, breast feeding must be discontinued during treatment.
Safety and effectiveness have not been established in children.
Major adverse reactions included peripheral edema in 15 subjects (4.1%), headache in 12 subjects (3.3%) and nausea in 10 subjects (2.8%)
About AbbVie's HCV Clinical Development Program in Japan
AbbVie's HCV clinical development program in Japan focuses on our two direct-acting antiviral treatment and is designed with the goal of achieving high SVR rates in chronic HCV infected patients, including additional genotypes and patients with compensated cirrhosis.
Paritaprevir was discovered during the ongoing collaboration between AbbVie and Enanta Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ENTA) for HCV protease inhibitors and regimens that include protease inhibitors. Paritaprevir has been developed by AbbVie for use in combination with AbbVie's other investigational medicines for the treatment of hepatitis C.
AbbVie is a global, research-based biopharmaceutical company formed in 2013 following separation from Abbott Laboratories. The company's mission is to use its expertise, dedicated people and unique approach to innovation to develop and market advanced therapies that address some of the world's most complex and serious diseases. Together with its wholly-owned subsidiary, Pharmacyclics, AbbVie employs more than 28,000 people worldwide and markets medicines in more than 170 countries. For further information on the company and its people, portfolio and commitments, please visit www.abbvie.com. Follow @abbvie on Twitter or view careers on our Facebook or LinkedIn page.
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1 VIEKIRAX [package insert]. Tokyo, Japan: AbbVie Ltd; 2015.
2 Kohnodai Hospital. National Center for Global Health and Medicine [cited 20 February 2013]. Available from: http://www.ncgm.go.jp/center/forpatient_hcv.html
3 Gower, E. Global epidemiology and genotype distribution of the hepatitis C virus infection. Journal of Hepatology 2014; 61: S45-S57, Table 2.
4 Hajarizadeh B et al. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 2013; 10: 553-562. Available from: http://www.nature.com/nrgastro/journal/v10/n9/fig_tab/nrgastro.2013.107_F1.html
5 Kumada H, et al. Randomized phase 3 trial of ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir for hepatitis C virus genotype 1b-infected Japanese patients with or without cirrhosis. Hepatology. 2015 Jul 3. doi: 10.1002/hep.27972.