Drug Discovery & Medicinal Chemistry

Our researchers have identified several hepatitis B antivirals that have unique targets. One of them, a “capsid inhibitor” has completed Phase I safety trials. This is licensed to Arbutus BioPharma, which
is the trial sponsor. In addition, our scientists are exploring new targets and details about the molecular biology of HBV, including research that has shown that HBV cccDNA synthesis depends
upon cellular repair enzymes.

Another compound that causes the selective destruction of HBV RNA in the infected cell is being studied by Blumberg scientists, who have been characterizing the compound’s unusual mechanism of action. The mechanism appears to be a first for HBV, and has enormous
therapeutic potential.

Our research also includes new antiviral assay systems, identifying first-in-class ‘agonists’ of stimulator of interferon genes. We are working to understand if and how “death” signals are activated by STING agonists. This is intended to be way of activating the body’s own self defense systems to repress the virus, and has potential as a cancer therapeutic.