Arrowhead Research said this week that its preclinical hepatitis B treatment ARC-520 was found to trigger a greater than 90 percent reduction in circulating HBV DNA in a chimpanzee chronically infected with the virus.
The chimpanzee has been infected for more than 30 years and has high viral-titer and antigenemia and nearly 100 percent of hepatocytes stain positive for HBV, the company said.
“It’s encouraging to see data from our preclinical rodent models confirmed in a true primate disease setting” Arrowhead COO Bruce Given said in a statement. “There are very few high primates that develop chronic HBV. We understand these studies to be useful predictors of the response we might expect in human patients as we approach clinical trials later this year.”
ARC-520 was acquired by Arrowhead when it purchased the RNA drug assets of Roche in 2011 (GSN 11/27/2011). The compound, which has been shown to silence HBV in rodents for up to one month after a single dose, is expected to enter phase I testing in the third quarter.