Arrowhead Research Corporation (NASDAQ: ARWR), a biopharmaceutical company developing targeted RNAi therapeutics, today announced that it has initiated dosing in a Phase 1 clinical trial of ARC-520, the Company’s candidate for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus infection. Trial initiation followed successful completion of the Clinical Trial Notification (CTN) regulatory process in Australia. The objectives of the study are to characterize the safety profile of ARC-520, determine maximum tolerated dose, and evaluate pharmacokinetics in healthy volunteers. ARC-520 is the first candidate to use Arrowhead’s proprietary Dynamic Polyconjugate (DPC) delivery platform and includes two distinct siRNA sequences that have pan-genotypic coverage for 99.6% HBV GenBank sequences.
The Phase 1 trial is a single-center, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, single dose-escalation, first-in-human study of ARC-520 administered intravenously to healthy adult volunteers and is being conducted in Melbourne, Australia. Each dose cohort includes 6 subjects randomized at ratio of 1:2 (placebo:active) to receive a single intravenous injection of either placebo or ARC-520. Arrowhead expects to complete this Phase 1 trial in the fourth quarter of 2013 and begin a Phase 2a trial in chronic HBV patients in 2014.
“This Phase 1 study will establish a safety profile for ARC-520 as well as provide the first human data for our DPC delivery platform. This is an important step forward as we seek to advance ARC-520 into HBV patients and build additional RNAi therapeutics based on what we believe is the most potent delivery system in the industry,” said Dr. Christopher Anzalone, President and Chief Executive Officer.
Hepatitis B is the world’s most common serious liver infection. It is estimated that 350 million people worldwide are chronically infected with HBV, representing approximately 1 in 20 people on the planet. No currently available treatment methods can reliably achieve meaningful cure rates. ARC-520 is designed to reduce the production of new viral particles and viral proteins. Many experts believe that reducing key viral proteins can revive patients’ adaptive immune response and potentially lead to a functional cure of chronic HBV infection with a finite treatment regimen. Arrowhead previously presented data generated in rodent models and in a chimpanzee chronically infected with HBV, showing that ARC-520 induces rapid, deep, and durable knockdown of both circulating HBV DNA and key viral proteins, including hepatitis B s-antigen, e-antigen, and the core protein that forms the capsid.