The German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) has ceased development of its investigatory hepatitis C virus (HCV) drug faldaprevir, thus narrowing the field of players in the fiercely competitive race to bring new therapies into the multi-billion dollar market, MedPage Today Reports.

The company released the following statement: “The HCV treatment environment has significantly and rapidly evolved since the submission of the faldaprevir marketing applications to regulatory bodies around the world. There are now several new treatment options available for patients, and additional all-oral options are expected to be approved in 2014. This decision was taken as there is no longer an unmet medical need for the faldaprevir interferon-based regimen that was the subject of the application.”

The protease inhibitor faldaprevir was intended for use with interferon and might have had its moment in the sun if it had been approved a year ago. But time was not on BI’s side as Gilead Sciences and Janssen each released medications at the end of 2013 that yielded interferon-free options for some people with hep C, and as a crop of other therapies promising more universal opportunities for interferon-free treatment are poised to hit the market by this year’s end.

To read the MedPage Today story, click here.

To read the BI statement, click here.