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Pharmasset Announces the Expansion of the ELECTRON Trial in Chronic Hepatitis C
Date:6/8/2011

PRINCETON, N.J., June 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Pharmasset, Inc. (Nasdaq: VRUS) announced today the addition of three treatment cohorts to the ELECTRON trial of PSI-7977, a nucleotide analog polymerase inhibitor, for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C (HCV). The rapid and consistent antiviral effects and high barrier to resistance demonstrated with PSI-7977 to date provide the rationale for additional exploratory regimens in this setting.  This amendment will add one arm exploring 12 weeks of PSI-7977 monotherapy (without peginterferon and ribavirin) and two arms of interferon-sparing therapy: one for 8 weeks of PSI-7977 plus peginterferon and ribavirin (Peg-IFN/RBV) in patients with HCV genotype 2 (GT2) or 3 (GT3) and one for 12 weeks of PSI-7977 plus Peg-IFN/RBV in patients with HCV genotype 1 (GT1) prior null responses.  

"The combination data reported at EASL demonstrated that SVRs were achievable with two oral DAAs in the absence of peginterferon and ribavirin," stated Bill Symonds, PharmD, Pharmasset's Senior Vice President of Clinical Pharmacology and Translational Medicine, "We continue to explore the potential for removing peginterferon and ribavirin from the HCV treatment regimen. Given the encouraging data we are seeing in ELECTRON, we have decided to expand the study to investigate PSI-7977 monotherapy, as well as shorter treatment regimens based on the promising data we reported at EASL from PROTON."

Pharmasset anticipates reporting results from the first four arms of the trial (n=40) during the second half of 2011. We have submitted a number of abstracts to the 2011 American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) meeting, including data from the ELECTRON and PROTON trials.

About the Trial

The ELECTRON trial is an exploratory study of PSI-7977 for the treatment of chronic HCV infection. Part 1 of the trial is evaluating 12-week regimens of PSI-7977 400mg QD in combination with ribavirin (RBV) only, and in separate arms with abbreviated durations of Peg-IFN for 4, 8, or 12 weeks in treatment-naive patients with HCV GT2 or GT3. The primary endpoint of the trial is the safety and tolerability of PSI-7977 400mg QD and RBV for 12 weeks, administered with or without Peg-IFN. On May 11, 2011, Pharmasset announced the completed enrollment of Part 1 of ELECTRON in patients with HCV GT 2 or GT 3:

  • PSI-7977 400mg with RBV for 12 weeks (no peginterferon);
  • PSI-7977 400mg with RBV for 12 weeks; Peg-IFN weeks 1-4 only;
  • PSI-7977 400mg with RBV for 12 weeks, Peg-IFN weeks 1-8 only;
  • PSI-7977 400mg with Peg-IFN and RBV for 12 weeks.

In Part 2 of ELECTRON, Pharmasset will enroll an additional 30 patients into exploratory regimens of monotherapy and abbreviated durations of total therapy.  Following on the first four Cohorts of ELECTRON a 5th cohort will be added to explore 7977 400mg monotherapy in treatment-naive patients with HCV GT2 or GT3:

  • PSI-7977 400mg monotherapy for 12 weeks.

With the previously reported 100% SVR12 in naive GT2/3 subjects in PROTON, a 6th and 7th cohort will be added to ELECTRON to explore shorter treatment durations in both GT2/3 naive subjects and HCV GT1 subjects who have documented null responses (less than 2 log(10) IU/mL reduction in HCV RNA after 12 weeks of Peg-IFN/RBV):

  • PSI-7977 400mg with Peg-IFN/RBV for 8 weeks
  • PSI-7977 400mg QD with Peg-IFN/RBV for 12 weeks.

About Pharmasset

Pharmasset is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company committed to discovering, developing, and commercializing novel drugs to treat viral infections. Pharmasset's primary focus is the development of oral therapeutics for the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Our research and development efforts are focused on nucleoside/tide analogs, a class of compounds which act as alternative substrates for the viral polymerase, thus inhibiting viral replication. We currently have three clinical-stage product candidates advancing in trials in various populations. Our pyrimidine, PSI-7977, an unpartnered uracil nucleotide analog, is currently under study in three Phase 2b trials in patients with HCV genotypes 1 through 6, including abbreviated duration interferon and interferon-free regimens. Our purine, PSI-938, an unpartnered guanosine nucleotide analog, recently reported safety and efficacy data from 14 days of monotherapy as well as 14 days in combination with the pyrimidine, PSI-7977. An SVR-endpoint study of the purine-pyrimidine combination is anticipated to begin in the third quarter of 2011. Mericitabine (RG7128) continues in two Phase 2b trials and one interferon-free trial being conducted through a strategic collaboration with Roche.

Contact
Richard E. T. Smith, Ph.D.
VP, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications
Office: +1 (609) 865-0693

Forward-Looking Statements

Pharmasset "Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements in this press release that are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements," that involve risks, uncertainties, and other important factors, including, without limitation, the risk of cessation or delay of any of the ongoing or planned clinical trials and/or our development of our product candidates, the risk that the results of previously conducted studies involving our product candidates will not be repeated or observed in ongoing or future studies involving our product candidates, the risk that our collaboration with Roche will not continue or will not be successful, and the risk that any one or more of our product candidates will not be successfully developed and commercialized.  For a discussion of risks, uncertainties, and other important factors, any of which could cause our actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, see the section entitled "Risk Factors" in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2010 and our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and discussions of potential risks, uncertainties, and other important factors in our subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


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