Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the most prevalent chronic blood-borne infection in the US. 4.1 million Americans are infected and, of those, 3.2 million are chronically infected. Chronic HCV infection results in inflammation and progressively worsening liver damage. Over time, this leads to serious sequelae, including cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and even death. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 170 million people or 3% of the world population are infected, with an incidence of 3-4 million new infections per year (WHO, 2010).
While a number of direct-acting anti-HCV agents are available, all require combination therapy, and none is 100% effective. NovaTarg’s AMPK activators deplete lipids in the infected liver and have demonstrated anti-HCV activity
NovaTarg’s approach to HCV treatment is entirely novel: to reverse the fat deposition in liver cells that provides the environment for HCV to replicate. Inhibition of cellular lipid biosynthesis is detrimental to viral replication, since cytoplasmic lipid droplets play a key role in replication and infectivity of HCV particles. We have demonstrated that our compounds inhibit HCV replication in cells harboring HCV subgenomic replicons and in cells infected with the full life cycle virus. It is anticipated that a NovaTarg drug candidate will be complementary with all direct-acting anti-HCV agents and will speed the recovery o a metabolically-impaired liver. Furthermore, as a host target it is expected the the NovaTarg drug will be effective against all HCV genotypes and will display a high barrier to viral resistance.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are more than 50 million cases of dengue infection reported worldwide, which is only exacerbated by global warming leading to the spread of infection into new areas. There is currently no treatment for dengue virus infection besides liquid restoration therapy for ill patients. Due to the lethal nature of the infection and the threat of its spread, there is a great need for anti-dengue compounds that are effective against all four serotypes of the virus.
The NovaTarg approach of targeting a host cellular pathway to reduce fatty acid and cholesterol biosynthesis is anticipated to prevent dengue virus infection. The advantages of targeting a host mechanism include reduced risk of viral resistance and the ability to treat all dengue virus serotypes.
Host targets that can destroy the fatty environment required by the virus replication have potential for the treatment and prevention of dengue fever.