EB Pharma-Janssen deal on hepatitis D drug allows human trials

EB Pharma, LLC, said recently that it has entered into an agreement with Janssen Pharmaceutica NV for an exclusive license to use tipifarnib, a potential Hepatitis D (HDV) drug, in clinical trials.

EB Pharma, a subsidiary of Eiger BioPharmaceuticals, is currently conducting clinical studies in patients infected with HDV, assessing the efficacy of tipifarnib as a new therapy.

"This novel approach to treating HDV is the culmination of decades of research,” Dr. Jeffrey Glenn, an associate professor of medicine at Stanford University, said. "I think it has the potential to change the treatment paradigm for the worst form of human viral hepatitis and offers new hope for these patients."

Eiger President and CEO David Cory is equally excited about the prospects of tipifarnib.

"HDV is the least common, but has the poorest outcome of all forms of viral hepatitis,” Cory said. "We are excited to license tipifarnib from Janssen and study a potential new therapy for this life-threatening disease."

Tipifarnib is a late-stage, orally active inhibitor of farnesyl transferase, which is an enzyme involved in modifying proteins. The drug prevents the prenylation step, when  HDV replicates inside liver cells, blocking the ability of the virus to progress. Tipifarnib is not yet FDA-approved to sell or use for any indication.

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