BL-8020 was licensed under a worldwide, exclusive agreement from Genoscience, a French company focused on viral disease therapeutics. It was developed as an anti-viral therapy by Professor Philippe Halfon, Co-Founder and President of Genoscience and a world renowned scientist for his work on HIV (AIDS virus), HPV (human papilloma virus causing cervical cancer) and Hepatitis. In addition, Prof. Halfon is the founder of several biotechnology companies focusing on antiviral drug discovery and development, including ACTgene, Alphabio and Genoscience.“We are excited that this project has successfully completed the pre-clinical stage," stated Dr. Kinneret Savitsky, CEO of BioLineRx. “The unique characteristics of BL-8020 make it attractive as an adjunct therapy to other oral cocktail therapies, therefore not directly competing in the crowded HCV market of currently approved therapies or those under development. Recent toxicity issues seen with NS5B inhibitors stress the need for additional targets and approaches in HCV treatment. We look forward to entering the clinic with this promising drug at the beginning of next year," Dr. Savitsky added. "I am very pleased with BioLineRx's accelerated development program for BL-8020," said Prof. Philippe Halfon, Co-Founder and President of Genoscience. "According to the World Health Organization, approximately 3% of the world’s population is infected with the Hepatitis C virus. Most infected people develop a chronic infection, making HCV the leading cause for liver transplants in the US. While there have been some recent advancements in the global HCV therapeutics pipeline, there is still a clear need for safe, pan-genotypic therapies, as well as treatments for mutations which may develop resistance to current and future therapies, and for partial and non-responders. Based on the pre-clinical results of BL-8020, its unique mechanism of action and synergistic effect, I believe that this product, especially when combined with other available Hepatitis C drugs, has real potential to meet these future market needs."