Shares of Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) jumped more than 3 percent after the company said an experimental drug combination for hepatitis C showed sustained virological response in 99 percent of patients in a 12-week clinical trial.
The Illinois-based company had 571 patients take a two or three drug regimen for 8 to 24 weeks, in addition to the antiviral ribavirin. The group taking the combination of three medicines plus ribavirin for 12 weeks, a measure known as SVR 12, responded the best. This regimen led to an SVR 12 rate of 99 percent in 77 patients who had not been exposed to previous types of treatment.
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“We feel this regimen is going to be bringing significant efficacy, safety and convenience benefits to patients,” explains Scott Brun, head of Abbott’s virology development, according to Bloomberg. He goes on to say that Abbott could have its new drug for hepatitis C on the market by 2015.
Hepatitis C is a liver disease affecting as many as 170 million people across the globe. The virus is primarily spread through direct contact with the blood of an infected person, and can led to life-threatening liver damage.
The positive news sent Abbott shares to as high as $71.99 on Monday, easily outperforming the broad market and making a fresh all-time high. Other pharmaceutical names such as Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY) and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) also climbed higher. Dow component Merck (NYSE:MRK) increased nearly 2 percent, making it one of the best performers in the blue-chip index. Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) increased almost 3 percent in Monday trading.
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