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ARB-1740, a RNA Interference Therapeutic for Chronic Hepatitis B Infection

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journal contribution
posted on 07.11.2018, 00:00 by Emily P. Thi, Ammen P. Dhillon, Andrzej Ardzinski, Lale Bidirici-Ertekin, Kyle D. Cobarrubias, Andrea Cuconati, Andrew S. Kondratowicz, Kaylyn Kwak, Alice H. L. Li, Angela Miller, Chris Pasetka, Luying Pei, Janet R. Phelps, Nicholas M. Snead, Xiaohe Wang, Xin Ye, Michael J. Sofia, Amy C. H. Lee
Current approved nucleoside analogue treatments for chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection are effective at controlling viral titer but are not curative and have minimal impact on the production of viral proteins such as surface antigen (HBsAg), the HBV envelope protein believed to play a role in maintaining the immune tolerant state required for viral persistence. Novel agents are needed to effect HBV cure, and reduction of HBV antigenemia may potentiate activation of effective and long-lasting host immune control. ARB-1740 is a clinical stage RNA interference agent composed of three siRNAs delivered using lipid nanoparticle technology. In a number of cell and animal models of HBV, ARB-1740 caused HBV RNA reduction, leading to inhibition of multiple elements of the viral life cycle including HBsAg, HBeAg, and HBcAg viral proteins as well as replication marker HBV DNA. ARB-1740 demonstrated pan-genotypic activity in vitro and in vivo, targeting three distinct highly conserved regions of the HBV genome, and effectively inhibited replication of nucleoside analogue-resistant HBV variants. Combination of ARB-1740 with a capsid inhibitor and pegylated interferon-alpha led to greater liver HBsAg reduction which correlated with more robust induction of innate immune responses in a human chimeric mouse model of HBV. The preclinical profile of ARB-1740 demonstrates the promise of RNA interference and HBV antigen reduction in treatment strategies driving toward a cure for HBV.