On Thursday, a federal jury ordered Gilead Sciences Inc to pay $200 million to Merck & Co in damages for infringing two Merck patents linked to a profitable hepatitis C cure. Merck had demanded $2 billion but the damage awarded to the company is quite less. The same jury in San Jose, California, supported the validity of the patents, on Tuesday, which are at the heart of the dispute related to Gilead's main drugs Sovaldi and Harvoni. As a whole, both the medicines had over $20 billion in US sales last year and a year prior to that.
Gilead Sciences Inc has reached a step closer to the approval of the first drug to fight all forms of hepatitis C. The drug maker's experimental combination has shown high rates of effectiveness in four late-stage studies.
During the trials, a once-daily, fixed-dose combination of the drugmaker's approved hep C blockbuster, Sovaldi, was evaluated with experimental NS5A inhibitor velpatasvir.
The combination is the drug maker's second single-tablet treatment for the viral infection. Gilead's approved drug Harvoni targets the most common form genotype 1 infections.
According to two separate studies, Truvada, the treatment manufactured by Gilead can potentially prevent HIV in individuals at higher risk of developing the infection. On the basis of data presented by both the studies, the pill appears to be working effectively. As per the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Truvada is likely to reduce the risk of HIV infection by 92%.
In the United States, the Truvada pill was approved for ‘pre-exposure prophylaxis’ (PrEP) of the AIDS – causing HIV – and can decrease the risks of the infection. The treatment is for the people who do not have the virus so far, but even then they are at substantial risk of getting it. The infection can be prevented by taking the treatment every day.