Australian company Biotron has announced success in a trial of an antiviral drug to treat HIV and the Hepatitis C virus.
Shares in biotech group jumped 65% on the news to 16.5 cents each.
Biotron Limited told the ASX that patients completing a key Phase 2 trial of its lead antiviral drug, BIT225, had undetectable levels of Hepatitis C 12 weeks after ceasing all treatment.
“It is considered to be a prediction of permanent clearance of the virus and, effectively, a cure,” the company said.
During the trial in Thailand, eight patients co-infected with HIV and Hepatitis C received standard care drugs interferon and ribavirin for seven days before starting on Biotron’s drug, BIT225.
They then received 300 mg of the drug twice daily for 28 days.
Of the eight patients, three withdrew during the first 12 weeks of the study due to intolerance of the treatment. The remaining five completed their full course of treatment and had undetectable levels of viruses from week 12.
Virus levels continued to be undetected at week 24 and at week 48, when all treatment stopped.
At week 60, which is 12 weeks after stopping treatment, all remain clear of the virus.
Biotron Managing Director Michelle Miller says the trial supports BIT225 as a potential new therapy.
“Both HIV and HCV ( Hepatitis C) viruses present substantial challenges for treatment and represent multi-billion dollar markets,” Dr Miller says.
“We look forward to progressing commercialisation of BIT225 as a valuable new therapy that will work in combination with current and future treatment strategies.”
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