Transgene reviewing hepatitis C vaccine strategy

Biopharmaceutical company Transgene SA recently announced that it will review the strategy for its hepatitis C therapeutic vaccine but is unlikely to find a partner for the drug soon.

Transgene SA's Chief Executive Officer Phillipe Archinard said that the French drug research company has been designing the vaccine, known as TG4040, to be used concurrently with the intravenous drug interferon. It was considered a standard treatment, but will now likely be replaced with newer drugs in the form of pills, according to Bloomberg.

"We'll have to find an intelligent path" for TG4040, Archinard said, Bloomberg reports. "In this new context of oral treatments, it's true that the place for a therapeutic vaccine isn't obvious."

Other pharmaceutical companies have been in a rush to develop new hepatitis C medications. Interferon treatments, which are usually accompanied with flu-like side effects, can last up to a year. Companies like Gilead Sciences, Inc., and AbbVie, Inc., are in the process of developing pill treatments that do not need to have such long treatment periods and with fewer side effects.

In April, Archinard thought the company, which is controlled by the Merieux family, would be able to find a partner for TG4040 by the end of the year. Transgene may try to reposition the product for use in patients that are difficult to treat, or perhaps in China, where interferon therapy is likely to remain standard for longer.