OnCore Biopharma, Inc., a company focused on the development and commercialization of oral medication for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, has established a collaboration with the research center of the Hepatitis B Foundation in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute. The partnership will focus not only on Hepatitis B Virus, but also on liver cancer.
The agreement between Oncore and Blumberg will be based on an research plan in the HBV and liver cancer fields. Oncore will be providing funding for the realization of the projects, which may include the identification of new HBV targets, but also the identification and development of a new therapeutic compound series, new assay development, and other technologies for hepatitis B and liver cancer.
“We are thrilled to establish this research collaboration with the Blumberg Institute, one of the largest repositories of HBV research in the world,” said OnCore’s Chief Scientific Officer, Michael Sofia. “We believe that continuing to invest in novel therapeutic agents, assays and approaches is critical. Blumberg’s research is world-class and an exclusive relationship will help further our shared goal of delivering a curative regimen for hepatitis B patients and add to our growing platform of HBV therapeutics.”
Blumberg has already given Oncore the right to bear royalty licenses worldwide regarding Blumberg’s rights for all inventions made under the terms of the agreement. In addition, OnCore will also have option of raising the funding level, in order to enhance the projects or add new ones to the initial agreement. The partnership has been signed for the period of three years, but it may renewed for another three years at the same funding level.
“We are excited to be working with OnCore to further our mission of finding a cure for and improving the quality of life for those affected by hepatitis B worldwide,” stated the president of the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute, Timothy Block. “We have great confidence in the OnCore team, and are aligned with their strategy to deliver an all-oral cure for hepatitis B.”
OnCore has been focused on developing a therapy to aggressively suppress HBV replication within liver cells by creating stimulus and reactivating the body’s immune system. The company expects be able to create an effective defense against the virus as well as eliminate covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA), which is the reservoir of viral genomic material, and is thought to be the source of the virus’s persistence.
The mission of finding a cure for the disease that affects about 350 million people in the world is shared by the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute, which was formerly established by the Hepatitis B Foundation, in 2003, as an Institute for Hepatitis and Virus Research, and has become the leading nonprofit research organization in the country. The main work of the institute is based on discovery research and nurture translational biotechnology.