Austrian vaccine maker Intercell has revealed interim results from a Phase II study for its hepatitis C vaccine showed a significant viral load reduction and good safety profile.

The data has come from 25 patients in an exploratory clinical study of 50 patients who were chronically infected with genotype 1 of the hepatitis C virus, Intercell said, though it acknowledged that the data “still has to be interpreted with caution given the small sample size". The patients enrolled in the study were given eight injections of the IC41 vaccine in bi-weekly intervals for 14 weeks in an intensified scheduled derived from a recent optimisation study, said Intercell.

The company noted that it hopes the study would show that the reiterative vaccinations in the treatment period would lead to an increased constant and sustained decline in viral load. "The present findings, if confirmed by the final data, would indicate for the first time that a therapeutic vaccination schedule is able to reduce Hepatitis C virus viral load and has thereby potentially opened a new door for treatment," Intercell added. Full study data is expected to be available in the first quarter of 2008.