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Merck, Roche expand deal to promote Victrelis hep C drug globally
Merck (NYSE:MRK) and Switzerland-based Roche (OTCQX:RHHBY) announced Wednesday that they have expanded an existing agreement to promote, through their respective subsidiaries, Merck's Victrelis drug, for the treatment of hepatitis C.
Under the joint promotional deal, Victrelis, which this month gained approval from the European Commission, will be now be marketed to physicians and patients globally, including across Europe, Asia and Latin America, the companies said.
The companies previously announced a deal to promote Victrelis in the US, and collaborate to explore new treatment regiments for patients with chronic hepatitis C.
Hepatitis C is an infectious disease affecting the liver, and is often asymptomatic, but once established, chronic infection can progress to scarring of the liver, and eventually liver failure or other complications including liver cancer.
The drug, which was approved by the US FDA in May, is intended to treat chronic hepatitis C virus, in combination with peginterferon alfa and ribavirin, in adult patients with liver disease who have been previously untreated or who have failed prior therapy.
"Reaching physicians with important information about the use of VICTRELIS in combination with [peginterferon alfa and ribavirin] is essential as we enter this new era in the field of chronic hepatitis C," said Adam H. Schechter, president of Merck's Global Human Health division.