Arrowhead Data Demonstrates RNAi Candidate ARC-520 Silences Hepatitis B Virus
News Feb 27, 2013
Arrowhead Research Corporation announced the publication of data demonstrating multi-log reductions in hepatitis B viral DNA and proteins lasting over 30 days after a single injection in animal models. This suggests that Arrowhead’s RNAi-based candidate ARC-520 has the potential to treat chronic hepatitis B virus infection in a fundamentally different manner, with the goal of achieving a functional cure. The paper, entitled “Hepatocyte-targeted RNAi therapeutics for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus infection,” by Wooddell et al, was published online ahead of print in the journal Molecular Therapy (doi:10.1038/mt.2013.31).
In the publication, Arrowhead scientists describe the use of a novel Dynamic PolyConjugate (DPC) technology to deliver small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) designed against the hepatitis B virus (HBV). This DPC technology incorporates a biodegradable peptide composed of naturally occurring amino acids and a liver-targeted molecule that is co-injected with a cholesterol-conjugated siRNA (chol-siRNA). In proof-of-concept studies, utilization of this DPC to deliver chol-siRNA targeting Factor 7 to non-human primates results in >99% knockdown of target gene expression and >80% knockdown for over one month after a single injection. Multi-dose studies in mice showed no diminution of knockdown activity or toxicity upon repeated injection at therapeutic doses. In transient and transgenic mouse models of HBV infection, a single co-injection of DPC with chol-siRNA targeting HBV sequences resulted in multi-log knockdown of HBV RNA, proteins and viral DNA with long duration of effect.
"This publication is important because it speaks to a specific product and a broader platform,” said Dr. Christopher Anzalone, President and Chief Executive Officer. “These data suggest that ARC-520 could be a powerful therapy for chronic HBV infection, a disease with 350 million infected people worldwide and no cure. We are on schedule to file with regulatory authorities next quarter to begin first-in-human studies. During phase 1 we will be able to measure the drug’s ability to knock down production of new infectious virus as well as viral proteins, including s-antigen, e-antigen, and the core protein that forms the capsid. The ability to substantially knock down these viral proteins is what is unique about ARC-520 and what many in the field believe will be necessary to revive the host immune response and potentially provide a functional cure, which no other current therapy can reliably do. More broadly, this paper reports on a delivery system capable of extremely efficient gene silencing that can be used for a variety disease targets.”
Children who are genetically predisposed to overweight, due to common gene variants, can still lose weight by changing their diet and exercise habits. Around 750 children and adolescents with overweight or obesity undergoing lifestyle intervention participated in the study conducted by researchers from the University of Copenhagen and Holbæk Hospital.
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