Gilead Sciences, Inc. (Nasdaq:GILD) today announced that the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) has approved Sovaldi®(sofosbuvir), a once-daily nucleotide analog polymerase inhibitor, for the suppression of viremia in patients with genotype 2 chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection with or without compensated cirrhosis. Sovaldi is indicated for use in combination with ribavirin (RBV) for 12 weeks. Sovaldi (in combination with RBV) is the first all-oral, interferon-free treatment regimen for genotype 2 HCV infection. Sovaldi is also the first product to be marketed by Gilead in Japan.
“Today’s approval represents an important step forward in the management of hepatitis C in Japan, enabling genotype 2 infected patients the opportunity of a cure in 12 weeks with an all-oral regimen that eliminates the need for interferon,” said Masao Omata, MD, Yamanashi Prefectural Hospital Organization.
Primarily due to HCV, Japan has one of the highest rates of liver cancer of any industrialized country. Of the more than one million people chronically infected with HCV, 20-30 percent have the genotype 2 strain of the virus. Currently approved therapies in Japan for genotype 2 HCV infection involve 24-48 weeks of injections with pegylated interferon, which may not be suitable for many patients.
Sovaldi’s approval is supported by data from a Phase 3 clinical trial conducted in Japan (Study GS-US-334-0118) among treatment-naïve and treatment-experienced genotype 2 patients. Approval was based on 96 percent (n=135/140) of genotype 2 HCV-infected patients who received 12 weeks of an all-oral regimen of Sovaldi plus RBV 600–1,000 mg/day achieving a sustained virologic response 12 weeks after completing therapy (SVR12). Patients who achieve SVR12 are considered cured of HCV infection. The approval is also supported by SVR12 results from four international Phase 3 studies (FISSION, FUSION, POSITRON and VALENCE), which included genotype 2 HCV patients.
“There is a need in Japan for new HCV treatment options that are more effective and better tolerated and we have been pleased to partner with the medical community here in Japan to demonstrate the efficacy and safety of Sovaldi,” said Norbert Bischofberger, PhD, Gilead’s Executive Vice President, Research and Development and Chief Scientific Officer. “We look forward to making Sovaldi available in Japan as quickly as possible, while simultaneously continuing to work with the agency on its review of our second application for an all-oral sofosbuvir-based regimen for the treatment of genotype 1 HCV infection.”
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
Use with potent P gp inducers: Drugs that are potent P-gp inducers in the intestine are expected to decrease sofosbuvir plasma concentration. Sovaldi is contraindicated in patients receiving the following substances: carbamazepine, phenytoin, rifampicin or St. John’s wort. Also, Sovaldi should be administered with care when coadministered with the following drugs: rifabutin, and phenobarbital.
Contraindications: Sovaldi is contraindicated in patients with severe renal function impairment (eGFR<30 mL/min/1.73m2) or patients with renal insufficiency requiring dialysis.
Anemia occurred in patients receiving Sovaldi in combination with ribavirin. Patients should be carefully observed and hemoglobin should be periodically monitored and appropriate measures should be taken including ribavirin dose adjusted according to the ribavirin package insert. If ribavirin is permanently discontinued, Sovaldi should also be discontinued.
Adverse reactions: In the Japanese Phase 3 clinical study, 61 of 140 (43.6 percent) patients experienced adverse reactions, including abnormal laboratory test values. The major adverse reactions were 21 anemia/hemoglobin decreased (15.0 percent), 7 headache (5.0 percent), 6 malaise (4.3 percent), 6 nausea (4.3 percent), and 6 pruritus (4.3 percent).
Gilead Sciences is a biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes innovative therapeutics in areas of unmet medical need. The company’s mission is to advance the care of patients suffering from life-threatening diseases. Gilead has operations in more than 30 countries worldwide, with headquarters in Foster City, California.
This press release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, including the risk that physicians and patients may not see advantages of Sovaldi over other therapies and may therefore be reluctant to prescribe the product, and the risk that payers may be reluctant to approve or provide reimbursement for the product. Further, the ledipasvir/sofosbuvir single tablet regimen may not be approved in Japan in the currently anticipated timelines or at all, and approval, if granted, may have significant limitations on its use. These risks, uncertainties and other factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those referred to in the forward-looking statements. The reader is cautioned not to rely on these forward-looking statements. These and other risks are described in detail in Gilead’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014, as filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. All forward-looking statements are based on information currently available to Gilead, and Gilead assumes no obligation to update any such forward-looking statements.
U.S. full Prescribing Information for Sovaldi and Harvoni is available at www.gilead.com.
Sovaldi and Harvoni are registered trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc., or its related companies.
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Patrick O’Brien, +1 650-522-1936
Cara Miller, +1 650-522-1616
Seiko Noma, +81-3-6837-0790 (Japan)