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Pegasys Study Authors Conclude that Patients Successfully Treated,for Hepatitis C Can be Considered ''Cured''

CV; the remaining eight patients tested positive for HCV, at an average of two years following the completion of treatment. The study found that these eight patients exhibited no consistency in age, gender or HCV genotype, and it has not been determined if these patients experienced a relapse or if they were re-infected with HCV.

"We at Roche are proud to be able to offer some hepatitis C patients the prospect of such a positive outcome with our currently-available therapies, but we also recognize the urgent need to further improve response rates," said Tom Klein, Vice President, Hepatology, Roche. "In addition to ongoing research with PEGASYS, Roche has the most comprehensive pipeline in the area, with four compounds currently in human development that target the virus in a number of different ways. The development of R1626 and partnerships with InterMune, Maxygen and Pharmasset, all underscore our long-term commitment to finding effective new therapies with the goal of successfully treating more patients with chronic hepatitis C."

About Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne infectious disease of the liver and a leading cause of cirrhosis, liver cancer and the need for liver transplants. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 4.1 million Americans (1.6 percent) have been infected with hepatitis C; 3.2 million are chronically infected. The number of new infections per year has declined from an average of 240,000 in the 1980s to about 26,000 in 2004. CDC estimates the number of hepatitis C-related deaths could increase to 38,000 annually by the year 2010, surpassing annual HIV/AIDS deaths.

About PEGASYS

PEGASYS, in combination with COPEGUS, are indicated for the treatment of adults with chronic hepatitis C who have compensated liver disease and have not previously been treated with interferon alpha. Efficacy has been demonstrated in patients with compensated liver disease and histological
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