NEW HAVEN, Conn., Apr 16, 2009 (GlobeNewswire via COMTEX News Network) -- Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:ACHN), a leader in the discovery and development of small molecule drugs to combat the most challenging infectious diseases, today announced that the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has granted Achillion U.S. Patent No. 7,476,686 related to the Achillion NS4A antagonists to treat the hepatitis C virus (HCV). This new patent, entitled "Substituted Aryl Thioureas and related compounds; inhibitors of viral replication," includes novel mechanism of action claims and expires in 2025.
"In addition to securing intellectual property protection for these novel compounds, we believe this key patent grant underscores Achillion's strength in discovery and development and provides a cornerstone of our patent portfolio for novel NS4A antagonists," commented Michael D. Kishbauch, Achillion's President and Chief Executive Officer. "In partnership with Gilead Sciences, the NS4A program continues to advance toward human clinical trials, which we hope to commence in 2009."
In collaboration with Gilead Sciences, Achillion is evaluating a series of product candidates that specifically recognize a new HCV target, NS4A. As a result of their novel mechanism of action, broad potency against HCV, potential for oral administration and demonstrated lack of cross resistance, Achillion believes there could be significant market opportunity for its compounds in this area of unmet medical need.
About NS4A Antagonists
Based upon extensive virology and biochemistry studies, the novel mechanism of action of Achillion's NS4A antagonists involves targeting the NS4A protein of HCV. Inhibiting this target prevents the formation of a functional replicase complex, a necessary step in viral replication that occurs before copying the viral RNA genome. Achillion believes this unique mechanism may contribute to the lack of cross resistance between its compounds and other HCV inhibitors.
The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the most common cause of viral hepatitis, which is an inflammation of the liver. It is currently estimated that more than 170 million people are infected with HCV worldwide and The American Association of Liver Disease estimates that up to 80% of individuals become chronically infected following exposure. If left untreated, chronic hepatitis can lead to permanent liver damage, which can result in the development of liver cancer, liver failure or death. Few therapeutic options currently exist for the treatment of HCV infection. The current standard of care is limited by its specificity for certain types of HCV, significant side-effect profile, injectable route of administration and high cost.
Achillion is an innovative pharmaceutical company dedicated to bringing important new treatments to patients with infectious disease. Achillion's proven discovery and development teams have advanced multiple product candidates with novel mechanisms of action. Achillion is focused on solutions for the most challenging problems in infectious disease -- hepatitis, resistant bacterial infections and HIV. For more information on Achillion Pharmaceuticals, please visit www.achillion.com or call 1-203-624-7000.
This press release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, including statements with respect to Achillion's expectations regarding the enforceability of patents, timing and duration of clinical trials and Achillion's expectations regarding the release of data from ongoing clinical trials. Among the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements are: unexpected regulatory actions or delays; uncertainties relating to results of clinical trials, including additional data relating to ongoing clinical trials, and Achillion's ability to obtain additional funding required to conduct its research, development and commercialization activities along with Achillion's ability to attract and develop potential collaboration relationships. These and other risks are described in the reports filed by Achillion with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2008.
All forward-looking statements reflect Achillion's expectations only as of the date of this release and should not be relied upon as reflecting Achillion's views, expectations or beliefs at any date subsequent to the date of this release. Achillion anticipates that subsequent events and developments may cause these views, expectations and beliefs to change. However, while Achillion may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, it specifically disclaims any obligation to do so.
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SOURCE: Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc
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