PALO ALTO, Calif., Jan. 20, 2010 Eiger BioPharmaceuticals, Inc., a biotechnology company developing antiviral therapies, announced today the publication of research from the labs of Stanford scientist and Eiger Founder, Dr. Jeffrey Glenn, M.D., Ph.D. and colleagues entitled, "Identification of a Novel Class of HCV Inhibitors". Published in the January 20th edition of Science and Translational Medicine, the research validates a domain, termed 4BAH2, within the non-structural protein (NS4B) of the HCV genome, as essential for HCV replication and describes the development of a high-throughput screen leading to the identification of small molecule inhibitors of 4BAH2.
"The 4BAH2 is the second new domain within NS4B now proven necessary and essential for HCV replication, and which has been shown to be susceptible to pharmacologic inhibition. Eiger is developing small molecule inhibitors of both NS4B-RNA binding and small molecule inhibitors of NS4B-AH2, each of which has significant activity alone and significant synergy when combined," said David Cory, President and CEO of Eiger. "Inhibiting these NS4B functions represents an exciting new approach toward developing new classes of virus-specific agents to treat HCV."
"The discovery of a new class of HCV inhibitors against a novel target that is described in this paper paves the way for the development of novel anti-HCV strategies. This is of particular benefit because, like AIDS and tuberculosis, future effective therapy for HCV is expected to require a cocktail of several independent classes of drugs, each designed against a different viral target. As such, the types of inhibitors described in this paper represent ideal components of future anti-HCV drug cocktails," said Jeffrey Glenn, M.D., Ph.D., Founder of Eiger. "I am particularly excited to be working with the Eiger team because they have proven their ability to rapidly develop potent derivatives of the initial compounds described in my lab, and to efficiently move leads to the clinic."
Representing a second target of interest to Eiger within NS4B, 4BAH2 has been genetically-validated and consists of a conserved amphipathic helix (AH) essential for viral genome replication. 4BAH2 has a dramatic specific biochemical activity of promoting the aggregation of lipid vesicles, with likely relevance to the establishment of the membranous web, the site of HCV replication. This biochemical activity was leveraged into a new high throughput screening assay for pharmacologic inhibitors of 4BAH2 function. Analysis of these inhibitors reveals a mechanism of action involving inhibition of 4BAH2 induced vesicle aggregation. Eiger has developed a next generation series of potent 4BAH2 inhibitors that are highly active as single agents against HCV, and highly synergistic when combined with the NS4B-RNA inhibitor, clemizole.
About Eiger BioPharmaceuticals, Inc. www.eigerbio.com
Eiger is focused on the discovery and development of new antiviral agents against novel targets for the treatment of hepatitis virus infections. Eiger's pipeline includes repurposed clinical stage therapeutic agents as well as preclinical NCEs from discovery that exhibit antiviral activity against Hepatitis C, Hepatitis D, and other viruses. Eiger investors include InterWest Partners www.interwest.com and Vivo Ventures www.vivoventures.com.
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