Benitec Biopharma (ASX: BLT) is investigating long term gene silencing using DNA-directed RNA interference (ddRNAi) for human therapeutics. The company’s primary therapeutic program focuses on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Its other projects are in the area of infectious diseases and cancer.
Benitec Biopharma (ASX: BLT) has completed the acquisition of U.S.-based RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics company Tacere Therapeutics, providing Benitec with an advanced preclinical asset.
With the acquisition complete, Benitec has the opportunity to enter the clinic in mid-2013 with Tacere’s Phase I/IIa ready therapeutic program in hepatitis C that use Benitec’s novel gene silencing technology, ddRNAi.
The pre-clinical data and safety profile of TT-034 positions Benitec to begin clinical trials in hepatitis C at a time when a number of high profile HCV therapies are encountering safety concerns.
Importantly, successful Phase II clinical data is a key driver to securing deals with major pharmaceutical companies.
The worldwide market for new hepatitis C treatments is projected to reach $20 billion by 2020.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a leading cause of liver disease worldwide, with no known cure apart from liver transplantation.
The World Health Organisation estimates around 170 million people are chronically infected, with 350,000 deaths from HCV-related liver disease each year.
Tacere has also been conducting extensive preclinical work in the area of macular degeneration, with promising early results.
The company has been successfully developing programs utilising Benitec's proprietary ddRNAi technology since 2006.
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