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04.05.2021

Joint forces for the development of new therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B and hepatocellular carcinoma

Helmholtz Zentrum München and its academic partners German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and Technical University of Munich (TUM, represented by Bayerische Patentallianz (BayPAT)) entered into an exclusive license agreement with SCG Cell Therapy towards the further development and commercialization of an antibody-based treatment of chronic hepatitis B and associated hepatocellular carcinoma.

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Despite the availability of an effective vaccine, more than 250 million people worldwide suffer from a chronic infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV infection results in serious liver disease and chronic hepatitis B patients are at high risk to develop liver cancer. Every year 880.000 humans die of the consequences. Current therapies for chronic hepatitis B interfere with virus replication and are able to reduce liver inflammation and the incidence of liver cirrhosis and cancer, but do not cure HBV and have to be applied long-term. Despite antiviral therapy, the cancer risk remains significantly increased.

Helmholtz Zentrum München together with DKFZ and TUM have jointly developed specific antibody constructs that activate T‑cells to eliminate HBV of infected hepatocytes and thus have the potential to cure HBV in chronically infected patients. The Singapore-based biotech company SCG Cell Therapy will further develop the most promising drug candidates under an exclusive license agreement and in close cooperation with its licensors in order to translate this concept into clinical application.