About HBV

Estimates for the total number of persons chronically infected with HBV in the United States vary but generally range between .5 million and 2 million. According to the World Health Organization, as of 2016, of the more than 250 people living with HBV infection worldwide, only 27 million were aware of their infection, and only 4.5 million of those received treatment.

Hepatitis B virus (HBV)

HBV Image

Hepatitis B is a potentially life-threatening liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus which is transmitted through contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of an infected person.

It is estimated that more than 250 million people worldwide are chronically infected, and 15-25% of patients with chronic HBV infection develop chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis, liver cancer or liver decompensation.

Current approaches to HBV treatment include interferon therapy and/or nucleos(t)ide inhibitors of HBV reverse transcriptase. Treatment with interferon offers modest cure rates and is accompanied by serious side effects. Reverse transcriptase inhibitors can be very effective at suppressing the virus, referred to as “nuc-suppression,” but rarely result in full eradication of the virus from the liver.

HBV is a partially double-stranded DNA virus with a complex life cycle. There are multiple mechanisms associated with HBV replication that could potentially be targeted with new drugs, and combination approaches may ultimately provide the most effective therapy for HBV.

In Enanta’s HBV research, our initial focus is on core inhibitors. Core inhibitors, sometimes referred to as capsid assembly modulators, are a new class of HBV inhibitors that can disrupt the assembly and replication of the virus at multiple steps in the viral life cycle. Targeting the viral core protein has been shown to reduce viral replication in infected patients. Enanta has selected EDP-514, an inhibitor of the HBV core protein as its first clinical candidate.

For an overview of our research, including our licensed products, please see Our Pipeline.