ContraVir Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: CTRV) this morning released results from new studies that provide insight into the mechanism of action (MOA) of its hepatitis B virus CRV431. The new studies show that CRV431 potently blocks the interaction between hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), a key HBV protein, and cyclophilin A, an important cellular protein. The new information could explain previous findings that the drug reduces HBsAg. High levels of HBsAg in HBV-infected patients is a predictor for progression of disease, including liver fibrosis, cirrhosis, and cancer. “Our finding that CRV431 targets hepatitis B surface antigen is promising because reducing or eradicating surface antigen is considered an important step in combating HBV. Combination therapy with CRV431 and tenofovir exalidex, with their distinct and complementary modes of action, may halt or slow the progression of chronic hepatitis B virus, and may bring us closer to a functional cure of this devastating disease,” ContraVir’s Chief Scientific Officer Robert Foster, Pharm.D., Ph.D., stated in the news release.
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About ContraVir Pharmaceuticals
ContraVir is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of targeted antiviral therapies with a specific focus on developing a potentially curative therapy for hepatitis B virus (HBV). The company is developing two novel anti-HBV compounds with complementary mechanisms of action. One compound, TXL™ (formerly CMX157), is a highly potent analog of the successful antiviral drug Viread® (tenofovir), and is currently in phase 2a of development. TXL™ has demonstrated the potential for low, once-daily dosing and decreased systemic exposure compared to tenofovir, thereby potentially reducing renal and bone side effects. CRV431, the other anti-HBV compound, is a next-generation cyclophilin inhibitor with a unique structure that increases its potency and selective index against HBV. ContraVir is also developing FV-100, an orally available nucleoside analogue prodrug; FV-100 is currently in phase 3 for the treatment of herpes zoster. In addition to direct antiviral activity, phase 2 data suggest that FV-100 has the potential to reduce the incidence of debilitating shingles-associated pain known as post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN). For more information visit www.contravir.com.
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