1Janssen Infectious Diseases BVBA, Beerse, Belgium. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2Janssen Infectious Diseases BVBA, Beerse, Belgium.
3Janssen Research & Development, LLC, Titusville, NJ, USA.
BACKGROUND & AIMS:
Simeprevir is an oral HCV NS3/4A protease inhibitor approved for treatment of chronic HCV infection. Baseline NS3 polymorphisms in all patients and emerging mutations in patients who failed to achieve sustained virologic response (SVR) with simeprevir plus peginterferon/ribavirin (PR) in Phase IIb/III studies are described.
Baseline sequencing data were available for 2007 genotype (GT) 1-infected patients. Post-baseline data were available for 197/245 simeprevir-treated patients who did not achieve SVR. In vitro simeprevir susceptibility was assessed in a transient replicon assay as site-directed mutants or in chimeric replicons with patient-derived NS3 protease sequences.
Baseline NS3 polymorphisms at positions associated with reduced in vitro susceptibility to simeprevir (43, 80, 122, 155, 156, and/or 168; EC50 fold change >2.0) were uncommon (1.3% [26/2007]), with the exception of Q80K, which confers ∼10-fold reduction in SMV activity in vitro (13.7% [274/2007]; GT1a 29.5% [269/911], GT1b 0.5% [5/1096]). Baseline Q80K had minor effect on initial response to simeprevir/PR but resulted in lower SVR rates. Overall, 91.4% of simeprevir-treated patients [180/197] without SVR had emerging mutations at NS3 positions 80, 122, 155, and/or 168 at failure (mainly R155K in GT1a with and without Q80K, and D168V in GT1b), conferring high-level resistance in vitro (EC50 fold change >50). Emerging mutations were no longer detectable by population sequencing at study end in 50% [90/180] of patients (median follow-up 28.4 weeks).
Simeprevir treatment failure was usually associated with emerging high-level resistance mutations, which became undetectable over time in half of the patients.