Introduction & aim: Faldaprevir is a potent once-daily (q.d.) hepatitis C virus (HCV) NS3/4A protease inhibitor. The STARTVerso1 and STARTVerso2 phase 3 studies evaluated faldaprevir plus peginterferon alfa-2a/ribavirin (PegIFN/RBV) in treatment-naïve patients with chronic HCV genotype-1 infection.
Material and methods: Patients were randomized 1:2:2 to receive placebo, faldaprevir 120 mg q.d. (12 or 24 weeks) or faldaprevir 240 mg q.d. (12 weeks) all with PegIFN/RBV (24-48 weeks). Faldaprevir 120 mg for 12 weeks only (STARTVerso1 only) required early treatment success (ETS, HCV RNA < 25 IU/mL at week 4 and undetected at week 8). All faldaprevir-treated patients with ETS stopped PegIFN/RBV at week 24. Primary endpoint: sustained virologic response 12 weeks post-treatment (SVR12).
Results: SVR12 rates were significantly higher for patients treated with faldaprevir 120 or 240 mg (72% and 73%, respectively) compared with placebo (50%); estimated differences (adjusted for trial, race, and genotype-1 subtype) faldaprevir 120 mg 24% (95% CI: 17-31%, P < 0.0001), faldaprevir 240 mg 23% (95% CI: 16-30%, P < 0.0001). Subgroup analyses consistently showed higher SVR12 rates for patients receiving faldaprevir compared with placebo. The incidence of adverse events (AEs) was similar in faldaprevir 120-mg and placebo groups and slightly higher in the faldaprevir 240-mg group. Serious Aes were reported in 6%, 7%, and 8% of patients in placebo, faldaprevir 120-mg, and faldaprevir 240-mg groups, respectively.
Conclusion: Addition of faldaprevir to PegIFN/RBV increased SVR12 in patients with HCV genotype-1, and was well tolerated. Faldaprevir 120 mg is effective in the treatment of HCV genotype-1. ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01343888 and NCT01297270.