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Oglufanide Tested as Potential Hepatitis C Treatment

November 24, 2006

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An Australian clinical trial is testing a novel strategy for battling Hepatitis C. Physicians are starting to treat Hepatitis C patients with oglufanide, a drug capable of regulating the body’s immune response.

Drug in New Hepatitis C Clinical Trial

BRISBANE, Australia, Nov. 14 /PRNewswire/ — Physicians at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital have treated the first two patients in a clinical trial designed to test a new strategy for defeating hepatitis C viral infection, one of the toughest infectious diseases in the modern world.

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Implicit Bioscience’s drug, oglufanide, which works as a regulator of the body’s immune response, is being given to patients with chronic hepatitis viral infection.

“The drugs currently in use fail to control this disease in about one half of all patients,” said Dr. Ian Frazer, Implicit’s Chief Scientific Officer. “So there is a compelling need for new and better therapies, and we hope that oglufanide may control or reverse the suppression of the immune system which the hepatitis virus uses to defeat our normally healthy defences.”

Dr. Frazer is well known as the co-inventor of the recently approved vaccine for papillomavirus which is designed to prevent cervical cancer.

Dr. Elizabeth Powell, who is the Principal Investigator for the trial which will be recruiting patients into 2007, welcomed the opportunity to study the action of oglufanide in her busy liver diseases clinic at the Princess Alexandra Hospital. “It is an important opportunity for patients to be involved in a new trial such as this, in which new treatment prospects are explored.”

Oglufanide was originally developed to treat severe infectious disease in Russia (where it is a registered pharmaceutical), and was extensively studied in cancer clinical trials in the United States before being acquired by the privately-owned Brisbane biotech company Implicit Bioscience Pty Ltd in 2005. Oglufanide regulates the body’s innate immune response to defeat invading germs and cancer cells. The drug is also under development by Implicit for severe respiratory diseases such as influenza (including pandemic disease) and ovarian cancer. Oglufanide has US Investigative New Drug status and Orphan Drug designation for cancer.

Source: Implicit Bioscience Inc.

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