VIENNA, Oct. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Intercell AG (VSE; "ICLL") and Romark Laboratories L.C. today announced plans to commence clinical trials of Intercell's investigational therapeutic Hepatitis C virus (HCV) vaccine, IC41, in combination with Romark's antiviral drug, nitazoxanide, during the first half of 2011.
Intercell's vaccine candidate has demonstrated a sustained reduction of viral load in chronic Hepatitis C (CHC) patients in a Phase II proof-of-concept trial. Nitazoxanide is an oral therapy that targets host cell factors involved in HCV replication and is not associated with viral mutations conferring resistance. Nitazoxanide has been shown to induce sustained virologic response as monotherapy in some patients chronically infected with HCV.
The planned European Phase II trial will include about 60 treatment-naïve patients chronically infected with HCV genotype-1 in three treatment arms: (1) IC41 plus nitazoxanide, (2) IC41 plus nitazoxanide and Pegasys® (peginterferon alfa-2a) and (3) Pegasys and Copegus® (ribavirin), the current standard of care, as an active control. The primary endpoint will be sustained virologic response (no detectable HCV RNA 24 weeks after end-of-treatment).
The companies involved in the combination study will retain commercial rights for their respective products.
"We are very pleased about this important next step in the development of our vaccine candidate against Hepatitis C. The distinctly different mode-of-action and the outstanding tolerability of both treatments create a joint approach in a field that will continue to have high unmet medical need over the next decades," stated Gerd Zettlmeissl, CEO of Intercell.
"We are excited about this novel therapeutic approach for chronic Hepatitis C," said Jean-Francois Rossignol, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman and Chief Science Officer of Romark. "There is an important need for novel therapies that offer improvements in safety and efficacy com