Saturday, April 12, 2014

Assembly Pharma, BioCrossroads to advance potentially curative therapy for chronic hepatitis B virus

Assembly Pharmaceuticals, a virology-focused biopharmaceutical company, and BioCrossroads announced that the BioCrossroads Indiana Seed Fund II has made an investment in Assembly Pharmaceuticals. Assembly is developing novel drugs for the treatment and potential cure of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation, Twilight Ventures, Luson Bioventures and private investors also participated in the financing round.

Assembly Pharmaceuticals is applying its novel science to develop agents with the potential to cure chronic HBV. HBV is an under-appreciated global epidemic with more than 350 million people worldwide chronically infected, including two million in the US Chronic HBV causes cirrhosis and liver failure, and it is a leading cause of liver cancer. Over 600,000 deaths each year are attributable to HBV. Current treatments can suppress the infection but require lifelong therapy since they are not curative.

Assembly Pharmaceuticals was formed in 2012 to develop drugs based on the breakthrough science of co-founder and Indiana University professor Adam Zlotnick,  Dr. Zlotnick is a pioneer in the biophysics of viral capsid assembly. His research has led to the discovery of multiple families of small molecules known as Core Protein Allosteric Modulators (CpAMs), which target the HBV core protein, a unique viral protein with no human analogue that is involved in multiple stages of the HBV life cycle.

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