French biotechnology firm Abivax has reported positive findings from the evaluation of the ability of its product candidate ABX464 to mitigate intestinal inflammation in HIV patients.
ABX464 is an antiviral small molecule designed to target RNA biogenesis by inhibiting the HIV REV protein in viral replication.
The results from a completed Phase IIa clinical trial indicated pharmacological reduction of HIV reservoir in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) with ABX464 in HIV patients.
ABX464 was found to decrease the inflammation by inducing Il-22 production in activated macrophages.
Based on these results, the firm intends to investigate potential use of the drug candidate for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) treatment, with plans to commence another Phase IIa trial in ulcerative colitis patients in the coming months.
Abivax CEO professor Hartmut Ehrlich said: “We are pleased to see publication of our data, which gives us valuable insight into ABX464’s activity in HIV and also supports its potential role as a novel and differentiated treatment for inflammatory bowel disease and especially ulcerative colitis.
“Based on these encouraging results, ABIVAX is initiating a Phase IIa proof-of-concept clinical study in patients with ulcerative colitis during the second half of 2017.”
During preclinical studies, ABX464 triggered a long-lasting reduction of viral load and demonstrated protection against the lethal effects of dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) given for experimental colitis.
In addition to a decrease in production of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6, TNFα and chemoattractant MCP-1 in colon, ABX464 was found to protect the intestine from changes caused by severe inflammation.