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Hepatitis C results boost 2 firms

NEW YORK — Abbott Laboratories said Monday that its experimental hepatitis C drug regimen cured 99 percent of patients in a midstage study with the most common and hardest-to-treat type of the disease.

Patients who took a three-drug regimen and the drugs Ritonavir and ribavirin had undetectable virus levels after 12 weeks of treatment. The company says it observed a 93 percent cure rate in a group of patients who were not helped by other treatments.

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Patients in the trial had genotype 1 hepatitis C, which is the most common type in the Western world and the hardest to treat. The regimen did not include interferon, a standard component of hepatitis C therapy that causes flu-like side effects that can last for months. The study included 77 patients who hadn’t been treated before and 41 patients who were not helped by other treatments.

Abbott shares rose $2.77 to close at $72.05.

Shares of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. also traded higher on promising data for a hepatitis C regimen. The company said 94 percent of patients who took a combination of three experimental drugs, daclatasvir, asunaprevir, and BMS-791325, were cured in a 12-week study. Those patients did not take interferon or ribavirin.

Shares of Bristol-Myers Squibb rose 84 cents to close at $33.93.

Hepatitis C is a virus that can lead to life-threatening liver damage and is the main cause of liver transplants in the United States.

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