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NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Pharmasset Inc. climbed Tuesday after the company said it is starting late-stage clinical trials of an experimental hepatitis C drug.

THE SPARK: The Princeton, N.J., company, is planning a 12-week study that treats hepatitis C with a combination of its experimental drug called PSI-7977 and ribavirin. Both drugs are given orally, and the regimen does not include the intravenous drug interferon. The company said it will enroll 500 patients with all types of hepatitis C. Some will get PSI-7977 and ribavirin, and the others will get the standard treatment for hepatitis C, a combination of ribavirin pills and intravenous interferon.

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