Inhibitex inked an exclusive, worldwide license agreement with Cardiff University and Katholieke Universiteit for intellectual property covering a series of hepatitis C virus (HCV) polymerase inhibitors in exchange for an upfront license fee, future milestone payments, and royalties on sales.
The licensed compounds include a series of nucleoside analogs that inhibit NS5b, an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase that is a critical enzyme in the lifecycle of HCV. In vitro studies using a HCV genotype 1b subgenomic replicon system demonstrate that these nucleoside analogues are among the most potent HCV polymerase inhibitors in development, according to the company.
The compounds were discovered in the laboratories of Chris McGuigan, Ph.D., chairman of departmental research committee and director of research, head of medicinal chemistry at Cardiff University and Johan Neyts, Ph.D., of the laboratory of virology and chemotherapy of the Rega Institute for Medical Research of the Katholieke Universiteit.
“The addition of these highly potent nucleoside polymerase inhibitors complement those we recently in-licensed from the University of Georgia and fully establishes a HCV program at Inhibitex,” says Joseph M. Patti, CSO.