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Abbott Labs shares rise to all-time high on hepatitis C drug data

Updated: November 17, 2012 6:12AM

Abbott Laboratories announced Monday that its experimental Hepatitis C regimen cured 99 percent of patients in a midstage clinical trial.

Shares of North Chicago-based Abbott Labs jumped $2.77, or 4 percent, closing at $72.05 — an all-time high.

Patients in the study had the most common type and hardest to treat form of Hepatitis C. After taking a regimen of three experimental Abbott drugs, along with the drugs Ritonavir and ribavirin for 12 weeks, the patients had undetectable levels of the virus.

“They all hit the virus at different points, and combining those agents together is what’s getting the high cure rates,” said Tracy Sorrentino, a spokesperson for Abbott Laboratories.

The cocktail of drugs did not include interferon, which is commonly used in Hepatitis C treatment. Interferon causes flu-like side effects, and is typically taken for about 48 weeks.

According to Sorrentino, fewer than 1 percent of patients in the trial discontinued treatment.

Sorrentino said Abbott plans to provide an update on the third phase of clinical trials alongside their third-quarter earnings report later this week.

Hepatitis C affects as many as 170 million people worldwide, and is the main cause of liver transplants in the United States.

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