Novel Drug for Hep B and Hep D Clears Treatment Hurdle

A very preliminary report on a drug that could block the hepatitis B and hepatitis D viruses showed it does not have any negative interaction with tenofovir, a potential hurdle for treatment.

Now that much progress has been made in finding drugs to cure hepatitis C infection, clinicians are hopeful that similar strides will be made in treating other hepatitis viruses. High on the list is hepatitis B, the most common serious liver infection in the world.

Reporting today at the International Liver Congress in Barcelona, German researchers gave a very preliminary report on a drug meant for hepatitis B and hepatitis D.

It is called Myrcludex B and it works by inhibiting virus entry into the liver by preventing it from attaching to liver cells, said Antje Blank, a German scientist involved in the study.

It was developed by a private biotech, Heptera, based in Moscow, Russia,

According to Heptera, Myrcludex B is being tested in a phase 2b open label, randomized clinical trial to evaluate efficacy and safety of the drug in combination with tenofovir in chronically HBV/HDV сo-infected patients. The company said 120 subjects will be enrolled in 20 centers in Russia and Germany.

The study so far has shown that in 12 healthy volunteers, the drug showed good tolerability, Blank said.

The dosing regimen has yet to be determined, but researchers have cleared one treatment hurdle.

They had been concerned about drug interactions with tenofovir, since Myrcludex B results in elevated bile acids.

“There were no problems,” Antje said, “the combination can safely be used.”

Researchers in the small preliminary study reported no serious adverse events and no clinical symptoms related to its use, she said.