From August this year one-time Ebola jab hopeful Tekmira will morph into Arbutus Biopharma and concentrate its efforts on developing a cure for chronic hepatitis B virus infection.
The new company follows the successful integration of OnCore BioPharma and Tekmira Pharmaceuticals into a combined entity housing the largest portfolio of HBV product candidates in the industry.
“We believe that the market opportunity for a curative regimen for HBV is very significant, likely eclipsing the HCV market, and presents a meaningful opportunity for shareholders," said Mark Murray, Tekmira’s president and chief executive, explaining the strategy behind the move.
Tekmira said it plans to have at least four HBV product candidates advancing in clinical development in the first half of 2016, and also expects to file INDs for three additional candidates during the year.
Activities relating to the development of its Ebola vaccine TKM-Ebola have been suspended after data indicated that it was unlikely to hit Phase II efficacy targets.
A joint re-evaluation of its related development contract with the US Department of Defence is currently underway, and Arbutus’ new management team will explore strategic alternatives for this asset, it was confirmed.