Benitec treats first patient in HCV trial


By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Monday, 02 June, 2014


Vaccine

Benitec Biopharma (ASX:BLT) has dosed the first patient for its first-in-human clinical trial of therapeutic candidate TT-034 in hepatitis C (HCV).

The first of 14 patients with genotype 1 HCV has been treated in the phase I/IIa open label, dose escalation study.

The trial is being conducted at the Duke Clinical Research Unit in North Carolina and the University of California.

Its primary objective is to demonstrate that TT-034 can be used safely in HCV patients. Preclinical studies in non-human primates found very low toxicity rates. A secondary objective is to assess the impact of the treatment on HCV viral load in treated patients.

Benitec Biopharma CEO Peter French called the commencement of the trial “a landmark in the company’s history. The trial is the first time Benitec’s gene silencing technology, ddRNAi, has been used systemically in patients.”

TT-034 is designed to use the gene silencing technology to treat and potentially cure HCV in a single injection.

Benitec holds exclusive licence to the ddRNAi technology from the CSIRO, and acquired TT-034 through the $1.5 million acquisition of Tacere Therapeutics in 2012.

Lodge Partners Research recently maintained its ‘buy’ recommendation on Benitec Biopharma shares, and reaffirmed its 12-month price target of $3.20.

Benitec Biopharma (ASX:BLT) shares were trading 0.42% higher at $1.205 as of around 3.30 pm on Friday.

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