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ContraVir is a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development of targeted antiviral therapies, especially the development of anti-hepatitis B virus-related drugs. One of its core anti-HBV drugs, TTX (tenofovir exalidex, CMX157), is a lipid prodrug of tenofovir. The use of natural lipid-supply pathways to deliver drugs to the liver to reduce the systemic exposure dose of tenofovir, thereby reducing renal and skeletal adverse reactions, is currently in phase IIa.


ContraVir Another anti-HBV drug CRV431 is a new generation of cyclophilin inhibitors with a special structure. Cyclophilin (also known as cyclosporine A-binding protein) is an important biologically active protein in cells and is involved in many physiological functions such as signal transduction, apoptosis regulation, and protein folding.


ContraVir announced the latest findings of research conducted at the Scripps Research Institute in the United States, stating that the mechanism of action of the candidate drug CRV431 is further elucidated and that it is one step closer to functional healing of hepatitis B. ContraVir’s stock price rose 8% before the trading session.


The results of this study show that CRV431 can block the interaction of hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg) with cyclophilin. HBsAg is the coat protein of hepatitis B virus. For patients already infected with HBV, a higher level of HBsAg means a higher risk of disease progression (hepatic fibrosis, cirrhosis, and liver cancer).


ContraVir’s “Healing Hepatitis B” strategy is to combine TXL, which reduces viral load, with CRV431, which lowers HBsAg levels, to complement each other with two different mechanisms of action.


Dr. Philippe Gallay of the American Scripps Research Institute led the research of CRV431. He pointed out that CRV431 can also block the interaction between cyclophilin and another hepatitis B protein called HBx. These findings further highlight the central role of cyclophilin in the course of hepatitis B, and also suggest that CRV431 plays an important role in blocking HBV activity.


Robert Foster, chief scientific officer of ContraVir, commented: “The goal of hepatitis B drug development is to completely eliminate the virus so that patients can no longer worry about the long-term consequences of the infection. We have found that CRV431 can target HBsAg, which is very promising because it reduces Or clearing HBsAg is an important process against hepatitis B virus.If CRV431 and tenofovir exalidex are used in combination with two drugs with complementary mechanism, it may be better to prevent or delay the progress of hepatitis B virus, which may make us to cure hepatitis B from functional. This kind of disease is one step closer.”


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