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GEN News Highlights : Jan 24, 2012

BioLineRx Nabs Rights to Genoscience’s Early-Stage HCV Therapy

BL-8020 may inhibit HCV-induced autophagy and act synergistically with other antiviral drugs.

BioLineRx negotiated a worldwide, exclusive license to French firm Genoscience’s hepatitis C therapy candidate BL-8020. The license effectively marks BioLineRx’ entry into the growing HCV therapeutics market, which the firm says is already worth an estimated $6.5 billion annually.

BL-8020 is an orally administered drug developed to inhibit HCV-induced autophagy, which represents a mechanism of action that differs from currently used anti-HCV drugs, Genoscience claims. Preclinical safety and efficacy testing suggested the candidate demonstrated synergistic activity when administered in combination with other anti-HCV drugs.

Existing treatments for HCV are characterized by severe side effects, long treatment duration, and the development of resistance, remarks Kinneret Savitsky, Ph.D., BioLineRx CEO. “In these respects, BL-8020 has demonstrated a safety and efficacy profile, may shorten therapy duration, and may combat resistance by acting as an add-on platform which can potentially be combined with other oral hepatitis C therapies to increase their efficacy.”

Genoscience is focused on the development of drugs against viral diseases such as HCV. To this end the firm is exploiting a technology platform that combines expertise in drug resistance with molecular modeling using its GenMol™ software, to enable the design of highly targeted molecules that will bypass drug resistance issues.