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P450s under Restriction (PURE) Screen Using HepaRG and Primary Human Hepatocytes for Discovery of Novel HBV Antivirals

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-02-28, 21:31 authored by George D. Hartman, Scott D. Kuduk, Christine Espiritu, Angela M. Lam
Herein is reported a novel screening paradigm PURE (P450s under restriction) for the identification and optimization of hits as part of a hepatitis B virus (HBV) antiviral discovery program. To closely represent in vivo hepatocytes, differentiated HepaRG cells (dHRGs) and primary human hepatocytes (PHHs) were used as the basis for an HBV infection system. However, a significant challenge arose during potency evaluation in using cultured dHRGs and PHHs as screening platforms because, as with hepatocytes in vivo, these cells express active cytochrome P450 enzymes and thus can metabolize test compounds. The observed antiviral effects may be the cumulative result of a dynamic pool of parent compound and metabolites thus confounding structure activity relationship (SAR) interpretation and subsequent optimization design initiatives. We show here that PURE methodology restricts metabolism of HBV-infected dHRGs and PHHs and thus provides highly informative potency data for decision-making on key representative antiviral compounds.

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