Telbivudine emerging as a potent new treatment option for Hepatitis B
Jul 29, 2005 - 10:24:38 PM

Novartis Pharma AG and Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced today that the phase III GLOBE registration trial for telbivudine successfully reached its primary, composite efficacy endpoint of therapeutic response at one year in chronic hepatitis B patients. This endpoint, which was designed to assess if telbivudine was at least as effective as lamivudine, evaluated the combination of viral suppression (serum HBV DNA suppression below 100,000 copies/mL) coupled with either improved liver function (ALT normalization) or loss of detectable hepatitis B e-antigen (HBeAg).

The largest hepatitis B registration trial to date, GLOBE enrolled more than 1,350 patients in over 130 centers worldwide. The ongoing trial is evaluating the safety and efficacy of telbivudine compared to lamivudine in patients with HBeAg-positive and HBeAg-negative compensated chronic hepatitis B for two years of treatment in two daily treatment regimens: telbivudine 600 mg or lamivudine 100 mg.

The one-year analysis of this trial will be the primary data used for preparing the marketing registration applications. Novartis and Idenix plan to file with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by the end of 2005 for marketing approval of telbivudine for the treatment of chronic HBV. Worldwide marketing filings, including the filing that will be submitted to the European Medicines Agency (EMEA), are expected in the first quarter of 2006. Novartis and Idenix are co-developing telbivudine.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that approximately 350 million people, or 5% of the world's population, are chronically infected with hepatitis B virus or HBV. Current treatment options are often associated with limited efficacy, poor tolerability or resistance concerns, and new therapeutic options are needed to respond to the significant unmet need in treating chronic HBV.

"We believe that telbivudine is emerging as an important, potent new treatment option for hepatitis B, providing rapid and profound viral suppression," said Joerg Reinhardt, Global Head of Development, Novartis Pharma AG. "Through our ongoing development programs and our collaboration with Idenix, we will continue to advance new hepatitis therapies to address the significant unmet medical needs that exist in this area."

The companies anticipate that complete data from the GLOBE study will be submitted for presentation to the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease (AASLD) meeting in San Francisco, California, November 11-15, 2005.

More About Telbivudine

Telbivudine is a specific and selective, oral, once-daily nucleoside that is unique in its preferential inhibition of 2nd strand HBV DNA synthesis. This distinct mechanism of action may be responsible for the rapid and profound viral suppression associated with telbivudine treatment.

The GLOBE study results continue to support a favorable overall safety profile for telbivudine with no substantial safety issues being identified to date through the combined two years of treatment in the phase IIb clinical trial and in the phase III clinical program to date.

An additional phase III trial (NV-02B-011) is evaluating the safety and efficacy of telbivudine compared to lamivudine in HBeAg-positive and HBeAg-negative patients with decompensated chronic hepatitis B. This ongoing trial has enrolled 87 patients to date.

About Hepatitis B

Chronic Hepatitis B is caused by a virus that attacks the liver. The virus, which is called hepatitis B virus (HBV), can cause lifelong infection, cirrhosis (scarring) of the liver, liver cancer, liver failure, and death. The WHO estimates that annually over 50 million people become infected with HBV and that more than one million individuals die from HBV-related chronic liver disease.

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