Boehringer Ingelheim's lead hepatitis C compound moves into phase III

Boehringer IngelheimBoehringer Ingelheim announced the study outline for the pivotal Phase III clinical trials designed to evaluate BI 201335, its investigational once-daily oral protease inhibitor, in both treatment-naïve and -experienced patients with chronic genotype-1 hepatitis C virus (HCV), the most challenging genotype to treat.

In parallel, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Fast Track designations for BI 201335 plus standard-of care (SOC), and as part of the interferon-free combination with the polymerase inhibitor, BI 207127, in chronic genotype-1 HCV patients.

"We are delighted to receive the FDA’s Fast Track designation for both, our BI 201335 plus SOC, and interferon-free combination treatment approaches. If successful, the combination therapy carries the potential for patients to live without the burden of interferon’s side effects," said Professor Klaus Dugi, Corporate Senior Vice President Medicine at Boehringer Ingelheim. "We are committed to bringing BI 201335 forward, with the ambition of improving cure rates for the benefit of those living with hepatitis C."

BI 201335 Phase III Trials*
BI 201335 will be evaluated in multiple randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials in combination with pegylated-interferon and ribavirin (PegIFN/RBV), the current HCV SOC. The Phase III trials include two studies in treatment- naïve and one study in treatment-experienced chronic genotype-1 HCV patients. The two studies in treatment-naïve patients will be conducted in the European Union and Japan, as well as the U.S., Canada, Taiwan and Korea. The study in treatment-experienced patients will be conducted globally. BI 201335 will be dosed once-daily at either 120mg or 240mg in combination with PegIFN/RBV and treatment durations will range from 24 to 48 weeks. The primary endpoint of each trial is sustained viral response (SVR), which is considered viral cure. These studies are part of a broader Phase III trial programme expected to commence in the second quarter of 2011.

PegIFN-Free Phase II Trials of BI 201335 + BI 207127
In parallel, Boehringer Ingelheim is developing BI 207127, an oral HCV polymerase inhibitor that has completed Phase I clinical trials in combination with BI 201335. Phase II trials evaluating BI 207127 plus BI 201335 in PegIFN-free regimens, both with and without ribavirin, are currently underway. The FDA has designated this investigation as a Fast Track development programme. Fast Track is a process designed to facilitate the development and expedite the review of drugs to treat serious diseases and fill an unmet medical need. The purpose is to get important new drugs to patients earlier.

About Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)
HCV is an infectious disease of the liver and is a leading cause of chronic liver disease and liver transplant. The number of individuals chronically infected with HCV globally has been estimated at 170 million, with 3–4 million new infections occurring each year. Only about 20–45% of patients clear the virus in the acute phase. Of the remaining chronically infected patients, 20% will develop cirrhosis within a mean of 20 years. The mortality rate after cirrhosis has developed is 2-5% per year. End-stage liver disease due to HCV infection currently represents the major cause for liver transplantation in the Western world.

About Boehringer Ingelheim in Virology
Boehringer Ingelheim has more than 6,900 scientists working in cross disciplinary teams within our global R&D network in six large therapeutic areas, including virology. In addition to its ongoing research programme for HCV, Boehringer Ingelheim has a long-standing history in virology drug development, including compounds for the treatment of HIV (VIRAMUNE® (nevirapine) tablets/oral suspension, the first approved HIV non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) and Aptivus®, an HIV protease inhibitor). The company has a well established research centre in Laval, Canada, dedicated to virology research since the early 1990’s, and is committed to developing new therapies for virological diseases with a high unmet medical need.

Boehringer Ingelheim in Hepatitis C Virus (HCV)
BI 201335 is an investigational oral HCV NS3/4A protease inhibitor, discovered from Boehringer Ingelheim’s own research and development, which has completed clinical trials through Phase IIb (SILEN-C studies). This Phase II programme supports the investigation of BI 201335 in Phase III trials. Boehringer Ingelheim is also developing BI 207127, an NS5B RNA-dependent polymerase inhibitor that has completed Phase I clinical trials. Phase II trials evaluating BI 207127 with BI 201335 in interferon-sparing regimens, both with and without ribavirin, are currently underway.

About Boehringer Ingelheim
The Boehringer Ingelheim group is one of the world's 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, it operates globally with 142 affiliates in 50 countries and more than 41,500 employees. Since it was founded in 1885, the family-owned company has been committed to researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing novel products of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine.

In 2009, Boehringer Ingelheim posted net sales of 12.7 billion euro (US $17.7 billion) while spending 21% of net sales in its largest business segment, Prescription Medicines, on research and development.

* Final results of the Phase II studies SILEN-C1 and SILEN-C2 for BI 201335 were presented yesterday at the International Liver Congress TM 2011, the 46 th Annual Meeting of the European Association for the study of the liver (EASL) in Berlin.

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