Vir Biotechnology Inc. (NASDAQ:VIR) has announced the commencement of its first phase clinical study of its investigational monoclonal antibody, VIR-3434, which has been engineered to act as a therapeutic vaccine and can neutralize hepatitis B virus.
Vir on its way to producing an HBV cure
The initiation of the first human dosing in the study signifies the commencement of the company’s second clinical study seeking to produce a functional HBV cure.
Philip Pang, the Chief Medical officer of Vir, indicated that the company is optimistic that having a functional HBV cure requires a drug cocktail with both immune-stimulatory and antiviral activity. As a result, the company picked its drug candidate with this consideration in mind. Pang added that in VIR-3434, they have an incredible drug candidate that possesses massive potential on its own as a therapeutic and antiviral vaccine. The chief medical officer adder that when VIR-3434 is combining with the company’s siRNA candidate, VIR-2218, it has the potential of attaining high rates as a functional HBV cure.
The VIR-34324 candidate is a monoclonal antibody that neutralizes HBV engineered to block entry of the 10 HBV genotypes into hepatocytes. It also minimizes the level of subviral particles and virions in blood.
VIR-3434 has XX2 vaccinal mutation that has been effective in mice
Similarly, VIR-3434 is Fc engineered to incorporate XX2 vaccinal mutation that the company has exclusive licensing rights for in all infectious diseases. The company’s investigational siRNA, VIR-2218, mediates RNA interference, and currently, Vir is investigating it in a second phase study as a potential chronic HBV infection treatment.
Jeffrey Ravetch, the head of Leonard Wagner Laboratory of Molecular Genetics and Immunology, discovered the vaccinal mutations included in the VIR-3434 Fc domain. The mutations act to trigger the appropriate FCGamma receptors, thus leading to their maturation. The mutations have been effective in mice, and if they work correctly in humans, they will offer the antibody to deliver the payload to immature cells and thus stimulating maturity. As a result, this will lead to HBV specific T-cells.