BiolineRX Ltd. (Nasdaq: BLRX); TASE:BLRX) has signed a worldwide, exclusive license agreement with France's Genoscience SA to develop and commercialize its BL-8020 drug for the treatment of hepatitis C.
BL-8020 acts via a unique mechanism of action, by inhibiting hepatitis C virus-induced autophagy (cell degredation), which differs from the mechanism of currently used anti- hepatitis agents. Preclinical trials found BL-8020 to be safe and effective. The studies also found that the drug, when combined with other anti-hepatitis C virus agents, has a synergistic effect, which will likely increase their potency and reduce the numerous side effects often associated with these drugs, by enabling utilization of lower dosages. BL-8020 may also reduce therapy duration, which is currently up to 48 weeks. The use of two drugs acting by different mechanisms will probably benefit patients who have developed resistance to current treatments and it is an effective strategy used against other viruses such as HIV.
Genoscience co-founder and president Prof. Philippe Halfon developed BL-8020 for anti-viral therapy. He has founded several biotechnology companies and is world renowned for his work on HIV (AIDS virus), HPV (human papilloma virus causing cervical cancer), and hepatitis.
BiolineRx CEO Dr. Kinneret Savitsky said, "We are excited about entering the field of hepatitis C therapeutics, which is a very important field in the pharmaceutical market today. The current global hepatitis market is estimated at $6.5 billion and is growing steadily. Current therapies are characterized by numerous severe side effects, long treatment duration and development of resistance. In these respects, BL-8020 has a demonstrated safety and efficacy profile, may shorten therapy duration and may combat resistance by acting as an add-on platform which can potentially be combined with other oral Hepatitis C therapies to increase their efficacy."
Halfon added, "We were impressed by the drug development expertise of the BioLineRx team and are very pleased to collaborate with them for the further development of our product for the treatment of hepatitis C. There is clearly a huge unmet medical need in finding a safe and effective treatment for the disease, and based on pre-clinical results, its unique mechanism of action and synergistic effect, we believe that our product, especially when combined with other available hepatitis C drugs, has the potential to bring remedy to millions worldwide."
BioLineRx's share price rose 1.5% in morning trading on the TASE today to NIS 1.22, after rising 6.1% on Nasdaq yesterday to $3.29, giving a market cap of $43.5 million.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on January 24, 2012
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