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AbbVie to Present Late-breaker PEARL-III Study in Patients with Chronic Hepatitis C at the 21st Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections

-- SVR(12) rates of 99 percent with and without ribavirin were achieved in genotype 1b patients new to treatment

-- Response rates in PEARL-III were also high in specific patient characteristics, such as gender, race and genetics

Mar 3, 2014

BOSTON, March 3, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The first detailed results from AbbVie's (NYSE: ABBV) pivotal phase III study, PEARL-III, were presented today as part of the 21st Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) press conference and will also be presented as a late-breaker at the conference on March 4. PEARL-III evaluated the efficacy and safety of 12 weeks of treatment with AbbVie's investigational therapy with or without ribavirin (RBV) in non-cirrhotic, adult patients with chronic genotype 1b (GT1b) hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection who were new to treatment.

The PEARL-III study met its primary and secondary endpoints. In the 419-patient study, sustained virologic response rates 12 weeks post-treatment (SVR12) of 99.5 and 99.0 percent were achieved with the AbbVie regimen with and without RBV, respectively. There were no study drug discontinuations due to adverse events.

"Results from PEARL-III are encouraging, as they demonstrate AbbVie's regimen can achieve high rates of SVR, with and without ribavirin across several patient characteristics in those with genotype 1b chronic hepatitis C infection," said Peter Ferenci, M.D., professor of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Medical University of Vienna.

PEARL-III enrolled patients across different demographics and characteristics. Response rates in patients with certain characteristics (male gender, Black race and IL28B non-CC genotypes) were examined, as these patient populations have historically been associated with having a decreased response to treatment. High response rates were observed across all patients in the study, including those with these characteristics.

"We are excited about the strong PEARL-III results which demonstrate the AbbVie regimen achieved high SVR rates with no discontinuations due to adverse events in patients new to treatment with genotype 1b infection," said Scott Brun, M.D., vice president, pharmaceutical development, AbbVie. "Additionally, with these data, we continue to be on track to begin major regulatory submissions in the second quarter of 2014. AbbVie will continue to disclose additional detailed phase III study results at future scientific congresses and in publications."

About Study M13-961 (PEARL-III)
PEARL-III is a global, multi-center, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of 12 weeks of treatment with AbbVie's regimen with and without RBV in non-cirrhotic, GT1b HCV-infected, treatment-naive adult patients.

The study population consisted of 419 GT1b treatment-naive patients with no evidence of liver cirrhosis: 209 patients randomized to the regimen without RBV for 12 weeks, and 210 patients randomized to the regimen with RBV for 12 weeks. Following 12 weeks of treatment, 99.0 percent receiving the regimen without RBV (n=207/209) and 99.5 percent receiving the regimen with RBV (n=209/210) achieved SVR12. Patients in the treatment arm without RBV received placebo in substitution for RBV.

Patients with different demographics and characteristics were enrolled in the study, including gender, race (Black vs. non-Black), Hispanic/Latino ethnicity, age, geographic region, body mass index (BMI), liver fibrosis stage, IL28B genotype and viral load.

Across treatment arms in PEARL-III, there were no documented relapses within 12 weeks post-treatment. No on-treatment virologic failures occurred in the treatment arm without RBV and a single virologic failure occurred in the treatment arm with RBV. While all patients in the study completed therapy, two patients in the arm without RBV were lost to follow-up and therefore were considered treatment failures.

The most commonly reported adverse events (>10 percent for either arm) were headache, fatigue, pruritus, nausea and asthenia, with pruritus and nausea occurring at a statistically higher rate in the treatment arm with RBV compared to the arm without RBV. Anemia occurred more commonly among patients in the RBV-containing arm with clinically significant anemia requiring RBV dose reductions occurring in 9 percent of these patients.  

Additional information about AbbVie's phase III studies can be found on www.clinicaltrials.gov.

About AbbVie's Investigational HCV Regimen
The AbbVie investigational regimen consists of the fixed-dose combination of ABT-450/ritonavir (150/100mg) co-formulated with ABT-267 (25mg), dosed once daily, and ABT-333 (250mg) with or without RBV (weight-based), dosed twice daily. The combination of three different mechanisms of action interrupts the HCV replication process with the goal of optimizing SVR rates across different patient populations.

AbbVie's HCV Development Program
The AbbVie HCV clinical development program is intended to advance scientific knowledge and clinical care by investigating an interferon-free, all-oral regimen with and without RBV with the goal of producing high SVR rates in as many patients as possible, including those that typically do not respond well to treatment, such as previous non-responders to interferon-based therapy or patients with advanced liver fibrosis or cirrhosis.

ABT-450 was discovered during the ongoing collaboration between AbbVie and Enanta Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ENTA) for HCV protease inhibitors and regimens that include protease inhibitors. ABT-450 is being developed by AbbVie for use in combination with AbbVie's other investigational medicines for the treatment of HCV.

Safety Information for Ribavirin and Ritonavir
Ribavirin and ritonavir are not approved for the investigational use discussed above, and no conclusions can or should be drawn regarding the safety or efficacy of these products for this use.

There are special safety considerations when prescribing these drugs in approved populations.

Ritonavir must not be used with certain medications due to significant drug-drug interactions and in patients with known hypersensitivity to ritonavir or any of its excipients.

Ribavirin monotherapy is not effective for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus and must not be used alone for this use. Ribavirin causes significant teratogenic effects and must not be used in women who are pregnant or breast-feeding and in men whose female partners are pregnant. Ribavirin must not be used in patients with a history of severe pre-existing cardiac disease, severe hepatic dysfunction or decompensated cirrhosis of the liver, autoimmune hepatitis, hemoglobinopathies, or in combination with peginterferon alfa-2a in HIV/HCV co-infected patients with cirrhosis and Child-Pugh score greater than or equal to 6.

See approved product labels for more information.

About AbbVie
AbbVie is a global, research-based biopharmaceutical company formed in 2013 following separation from Abbott Laboratories.  The company's mission is to use its expertise, dedicated people and unique approach to innovation to develop and market advanced therapies that address some of the world's most complex and serious diseases.  AbbVie employs approximately 25,000 people worldwide and markets medicines in more than 170 countries.  For further information on the company and its people, portfolio and commitments, please visit www.abbvie.com.  Follow @abbvie on Twitter or view careers on our Facebook or LinkedIn page.

Forward-Looking Statements
Some statements in this news release may be forward-looking statements for purposes of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The words "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "project" and similar expressions, among others, generally identify forward-looking statements. AbbVie cautions that these forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, challenges to intellectual property, competition from other products, difficulties inherent in the research and development process, adverse litigation or government action, and changes to laws and regulations applicable to our industry. 

Additional information about the economic, competitive, governmental, technological and other factors that may affect AbbVie's operations is set forth in Item 1A, "Risk Factors," in AbbVie's 2012 Annual Report on Form 10-K/A, which has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. AbbVie undertakes no obligation to release publicly any revisions to forward-looking statements as a result of subsequent events or developments, except as required by law.

SOURCE AbbVie

For further information: Media: Elizabeth Hoff, +1 (847) 935-4236, elizabeth.hoff@abbvie.com, or Javier Boix, +1 (847) 937-6113, javier.boix@abbvie.com; Investor Relations: Elizabeth Shea, +1 (847) 935-2211, elizabeth.shea@abbvie.com

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