My name is Phil Troke and I work in the Gilead Medical Department and Gilead Science is a research pharmaceutical company that focuses on diseases of unmet need, in particular we are looking at HIV, also liver disease and around that very much has been Hepatitis C for the last few years and that is where our collaboration work with the STOP-HCV Consortium and also the HCV Research UK Consortium which works very closely with STOP-HCV.
Hepatitis C has moved on incredibly in the last six years and that has been very much working through normal routes, through global clinical trials but through engaging with patient groups and also with clinicians and consortiums such as STOP-HCV to really try and optimise treatment and in particular for the UK patients so that we generate data for support, treatment – giving the right treatment to the right patients in the UK.
There are two collaborations in particular that I would like to highlight; the first one is the BOSON Trial which was a Gilead Trial but run collaboratively with STOP-HCV Consortium that was focused on treating genotype 3 patients which form about 50% of the patients in the UK and really to try and understand what the optimal regime at the time of trial was for those specific patients and really the ability to collaborate with the STOP-HCV Consortium and all the clinical groups that were involved in that and the different centres that enrolled patients from the UK was hugely valuable to UK patients and allowed us to gain a really good understanding about how best to use the drugs in patients.
Moving on from there, we have then got what we would call ‘real world data’ which is looking at something and saying actually just in terms of giving access to patients that already exist in the UK are present and what are the right drugs and how do we gain access to the patients most in need. And that was run by NHS England and that was called the SoftPlus NS5A programme and it was aimed at treating patients with decompensated liver disease. So these are patients who have a really high unmet need, that are really struggling and we had other patients who were involved in that programme in 2014 and understand what impact for those who had a transplant for Hepatitis C and a 42% reduction in those patients who had a huge benefit in the UK.
Going forward, it is all about extending those collaborations back out even further so we can actually look and say how do we support patients and expanding treatment so the number of patients accessing and getting treatment expands year on year. There are challenges to the NHS in the current austerity measures, so how do we support increasing the number of patients within the budget within the NHS? There are a lot of discussions going on and that is really a conversation between clinicians, the NHS generally. NHS England is the payer for many of these patients and it is all about us working together and collaborating and stopping STOP-HCV plays a really big role in helping bring everybody together with those conversations and really understand how we expand treatment for many more patients in the UK could qualify for treatment. And we are in the position at the moment where there are potentially over 200,000 patients with Hepatitis C in the UK and it is how do we enable those who need treatment to get treatment at the right time for them and it is just finding the right conditions and it is all about working together.