BioLineRx has announced it has signed a worldwide, exclusive license agreement with Genoscience, a French company focused on viral disease therapeutics, to develop and commercialize BL-8020, an orally available treatment for Hepatitis C.
BL-8020 has been developed for anti-viral therapy by Professor Philippe Halfon, Co-Founder and President of Genoscience.
Prof. Halfon is a founder of several biotechnology companies and is world renowned for his work on HIV (AIDS virus), HPV (human papilloma virus causing cervical cancer) and Hepatitis.
BL-8020 acts via a unique mechanism of action, by inhibiting Hepatitis C virus (HCV)-induced autophagy, which differs from the mechanism of currently used anti-HCV agents. BL-8020's safety and efficacy were demonstrated in pre-clinical studies.
These studies have shown that BL-8020, when combined with other anti-Hepatitis C virus (HCV) agents, has a synergistic effect.
BL-8020's synergistic effect on other therapies is likely to increase their potency and reduce the numerous adverse effects often associated with these drugs, by enabling utilization of lower dosages.
In addition BL-8020 may reduce therapy duration, which is currently up to 48 weeks.
The use of two drugs acting by different mechanisms is also likely to be beneficial for patients who have developed resistance to current treatments and is an effective strategy used against other viruses such as HIV.
Dr. Kinneret Savitsky, CEO of BioLineRx, said, “We are excited about entering the field of Hepatitis C therapeutics, which is a very important field in the pharmaceutical market today. The current global Hepatitis market is estimated at approximately $6.5 billion and is growing steadily. Current therapies are characterized by numerous severe side effects, long treatment duration and development of resistance. In these respects, BL-8020 has a demonstrated safety and efficacy profile, may shorten therapy duration and may combat resistance by acting as an add-on platform which can potentially be combined with other oral Hepatitis C therapies to increase their efficacy.”
"We were impressed by the drug development expertise of the BioLineRx team and are very pleased to collaborate with them for the further development of our product for the treatment of Hepatitis C," said Prof. Philippe Halfon, Co-Founder and President of Genoscience.
Prof. Halfon continued, "There is clearly a huge unmet medical need in finding a safe and effective treatment for the disease, and based on pre-clinical results, its unique mechanism of action and synergistic effect, we believe that our product, especially when combined with other available Hepatitis C drugs, has the potential to bring remedy to millions worldwide."