Abbott and its research partner Enanta Pharmaceuticals will start clinical studies to evaluate three antiviral agents to hepatitis C (HCV) infection.
The phase II clinical programme will study the investigational protease inhibitor ABT-450 and two polymerase inhibitors ABT-333 and ABT-072 currently being developed exclusively by Abbott.
ABT-450 was discovered as part of an alliance between Abbott and Enanta.
All the three candidates represent new classes of HCV therapies that hold promise for patients, according to John M. Leonard, MD, senior vice president, Global Pharmaceutical Research and Development, Abbott.
No effective cure is currently available against hepatitis C infection. The 24 or 48 week course of a combination of pegylated alpha interferon and ribavirin still results in a less-than 50% cure rate. Interferon therapy can also lead to highly problematic side-effects including depression and flu-like symptoms.
The Abbott-Enanta collaboration will assess the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and antiviral activity of multiple dose strengths of ABT-450 or ABT-333 or ABT-072, each dosed individually in treatment-naïve adults infected with HCV genotype 1. HCV genotype 1 is the most common and difficult to treat form of the infection in the developed world.
Hepatitis C virus affects over 170 million people worldwide. HCV, which affects th liver, is spread through direct contact with the blood of an infected person.
Hepatitis C increases a person’s risk of developing chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, liver cancer and death.
Liver disease associated with HCV infection is growing rapidly.
Specifically targeted antiviral therapies for HCV, such as NS3/4a protease inhibitors and non-nucleoside polymerase inhibitors, may have the potential to increase the proportion of patients in whom the virus can be eradicated, Abbott stated in a press release.About Enanta
Enanta Pharmaceuticals develops novel protease, NS5A, polymerase, and cyclophilin-based inhibitors targeted against the Hepatitis C virus (HCV).
Enanta, a privately held company headquartered in Watertown, MA, has created a new class of macrolide antibiotics, called Bicyclolides, which overcomes bacterial resistance.
Abbott is a global discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products company. Its products portfolio includes nutritionals, devices and diagnostics.
In December 2006, Enanta and Abbott formed a worldwide alliance for the development of protease inhibitors. Enanta retains a 40% profit share option in the United States and has royalty streams in non-U.S. territories.