UK’s CN Bio Innovations has licenced a Hepatitis B drug discovery programme from Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.
The programme consists of several series of small-molecule antiviral compounds identified by a Bristol-Myers Squibb screening programme before exiting virology discovery.
They act to inhibit the production of Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), which causes immune exhaustion.
CN Bio chief executive Dr Emma Sceats said: “We have already successfully used our Organ-on-Chip models to provide data and insights into drug discovery and drug safety programmes for both pharmaceutical and biotech companies.
“The agreement is a significant opportunity as it will allow CN Bio to rapidly develop in-house anti-viral therapies and further advance our Organ-on-a-Chip discovery paradigm.”
Under the agreement, CN Bio will discover, develop and commercialise the anti-viral compounds to create a combination treatment for chronic Hepatitis B and a monotherapy treatment for Hepatitis D infections.
Hepatitis B, the most common serious liver infection in the world, causes up to 80% of liver cancers.
The aggressive form of hepatitis viral infection Hepatitis D affects more than 15 million people worldwide.
CN Bio will use its liver-on-a-chip model of Hepatitis B infection ‘Quantum-B’ as a bridge to the clinic.
The platform employs human liver cells in a physiologically analogous environment and allows viral replication over several weeks.
Quantum B liver-on-a-chip models recapitulate the structure and microenvironment of the human liver sinusoid and enables the co-culture of human hepatocytes with other cell types such as Kupffer cells, NK and T-cells.
Image: A research campus operated by Bristol-Myers Squibb in Princeton, New Jersey. Photo: courtesy of Coolcaesar at the English language Wikipedia.