AIC649 and HBV research approaches
Achieving cure from HBV infection
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is the causative agent of the most common chronic viral infection in the world, with ~250 million people infected. Since hepatitis B is often asymptomatic until significant liver damage has occurred, only 20% to 30% of HBV chronically infected patients are diagnosed in Europe and North America (much less in Asia). Of those, only a small number are getting antiviral treatment, usually consisting of a lifelong treatment with a nucleos(t)ide analogue. Standard of care treatment efficiently supresses the viral load in the plasma of the patient - but the virus persists in the liver, increasing the risk for severe liver disease. AiCuris therefore pursues several innovative approaches to develop compounds contributing to a functional cure of chronic Hepatits B for patients in need.
AIC649 is a proprietary inactivated parapoxvirus (iPPVO), which induces a natural, self-limiting immune response, while enhancing appropriate immune reactions against unrelated viruses. AIC649 is being developed as first-line therapy in combination with standard of care. A Phase 1 trial was successfully completed in patients chronically infected with HBV with no safety concerns, and a phase 1b/2a trial is in preparation.
In addition, AiCuris is focussing research activities on novel capsid assembly modulators (CAMs). By attacking multiple steps in the HBV life cycle, such as formation/maintenance of cccDNA and genome encapsidation, CAMs can diminish viral persistence as well as potentially restore the patient’s innate immune response by upregulating endogenous interferon. AiCuris believes that this novel and unique mode of action opens up a new opportunity to bring finite and curative treatments to HBV patients.