1. Drug-drug interaction potential of the HBV and HDV entry inhibitor myrcludex B assessed in vitro
Johanna Weiss, Stephan Urban, Katrin Meier, Walter Emil Haefeli, Antje Blank Antivir Ther . 2018;23(3):267-275. doi: 10.3851/IMP3206.
Background:Myrcludex B is a first-in-class virus entry inhibitor for patients with chronic hepatitis B or B/D infections. In patients it will be coadministered with drugs needed for the disease or comorbidities. We aimed to define the risk of drug-drug interactions by characterizing the influence of myrcludex B on relevant drug transporting and metabolizing enzymes in vitro.Methods:Inhibition of P-glycoprotein (P-gp; ABCB1), breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP/ABCG2), and the organic anion transporting polypeptides 1B1 and 1B3 (OATP1B1/SLCO1B1 and OATP1B3/SLCO1B3) was measured in cells over-expressing the respective transporter using fluorogenic substrates. Inhibition of cytochrome P450 enzymes (CYPs) was assessed with commercially available kits. mRNA induction of drug transporting and metabolizing enzymes was measured in LS180 cells after 4 days of treatment by quantitative real-time PCR. Pregnane X receptor (PXR) activation was assessed using a reporter-gene assay.Results:Whereas activities of P-gp and BCRP were not influenced by myrcludex B, OATP1B1 and OATP1B3 were specifically inhibited with a 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of 0.5 and 8.7 µM, respectively. Myrcludex B weakly inhibited all CYPs tested at concentrations ≥10 µM except CYP2D6, which was not inhibited at concentrations up to 2 µM. Myrcludex B had no influence on mRNA expression of CYP1A1, CYP3A4, UGT1A3, ABCB1, ABCC2 and ABCG2, and on PXR activity.Conclusions:Our in vitro study suggests that myrcludex B is not at major risk of acting as a perpetrator drug. A potential inhibition of the uptake transporters OATP1B1 and OATP1B3 and a previous clinical finding of potential CYP3A inhibition, requires further evaluation and should be carefully addressed in future trials.
2. The NTCP-inhibitor Myrcludex B: Effects on Bile Acid Disposition and Tenofovir Pharmacokinetics
G Mikus, M Schwab, T Bruckner, J Burhenne, M R Meyer, N Hohmann, M Haag, Sfj van de Graaf, W E Haefeli, A Eidam, J Weiss, A Alexandrov, S Urban, A Blank, K Meier, H H Maurer Clin Pharmacol Ther . 2018 Feb;103(2):341-348. doi: 10.1002/cpt.744.
Myrcludex B acts as a hepatitis B and D virus entry inhibitor blocking the sodium taurocholate cotransporting polypeptide (SLC10A1). We investigated the effects of myrcludex B on plasma bile acid disposition, tenofovir pharmacokinetics, and perpetrator characteristics on cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A. Twelve healthy volunteers received 300 mg tenofovir disoproxil fumarate orally and 10 mg subcutaneous myrcludex B. Myrcludex B increased total plasma bile acid exposure 19.2-fold without signs of cholestasis. The rise in conjugated bile acids was up to 124-fold (taurocholic acid). Coadministration of tenofovir with myrcludex B revealed no relevant changes in tenofovir pharmacokinetics. CYP3A activity slightly but significantly decreased by 29% during combination therapy. Myrcludex B caused an asymptomatic but distinct rise in plasma bile acid concentrations and had no relevant impact on tenofovir pharmacokinetics. Changes in CYP3A activity might be due to alterations in bile acid signaling. Long-term effects of elevated bile acids will require critical evaluation.
3. Hepatitis D virus in 2021: virology, immunology and new treatment approaches for a difficult-to-treat disease
Pietro Lampertico, Christoph Neumann-Haefelin, Stephan Urban Gut . 2021 Sep;70(9):1782-1794. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2020-323888.
Approximately 5% of individuals infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV) are coinfected with hepatitis D virus (HDV). Chronic HBV/HDV coinfection is associated with an unfavourable outcome, with many patients developing liver cirrhosis, liver failure and eventually hepatocellular carcinoma within 5-10 years. The identification of the HBV/HDV receptor and the development of novel in vitro and animal infection models allowed a more detailed study of the HDV life cycle in recent years, facilitating the development of specific antiviral drugs. The characterisation of HDV-specific CD4+ and CD8+T cell epitopes in untreated and treated patients also permitted a more precise understanding of HDV immunobiology and possibly paves the way for immunotherapeutic strategies to support upcoming specific therapies targeting viral or host factors. Pegylated interferon-α has been used for treating HDV patients for the last 30 years with only limited sustained responses. Here we describe novel treatment options with regard to their mode of action and their clinical effectiveness. Of those, the entry-inhibitor bulevirtide (formerly known as myrcludex B) received conditional marketing authorisation in the European Union (EU) in 2020 (Hepcludex). One additional drug, the prenylation inhibitor lonafarnib, is currently under investigation in phase III clinical trials. Other treatment strategies aim at targeting hepatitis B surface antigen, including the nucleic acid polymer REP2139Ca. These recent advances in HDV virology, immunology and treatment are important steps to make HDV a less difficult-to-treat virus and will be discussed.