US drug firms Abbott and Enanta have moved their jointly developed hepatitis C (HCV) drugs to Phase II clinical trials.

The trial will evaluate three HCV antiviral agents, ABT-450, ABT-333 and ABT-072.

ABT-450, an investigational protease inhibitor, is part of the Abbott-Enanta collaboration while the polymerase inhibitors ABT-333 and ABT-072 are being developed by Abbott.

The Phase II trials are aimed at assessing the antiviral activity, pharmacokinetics, safety and tolerability of multiple dose strengths of ABT-450, ABT-333 and ABT-072, dosed individually in treatment-naïve adults infected with HCV genotype 1.

Initial antiviral activity will be evaluated over a three-day monotherapy period and subsequently each antiviral agent will be administered with pegIFN/RBV for 12 weeks, followed by treatment with standard of care alone for an additional 36 weeks.

The trial participants will then be monitored for sustained virologic response.

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Hepatitis C affects 170 million people worldwide.