PALO ALTO, Calif., July 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- In support of World Hepatitis Day 2016, Eiger BioPharmaceuticals, Inc., a leader in the development of therapeutics for hepatitis delta infection, announced today that it is partnering with the Hepatitis B Foundation to launch a hepatitis delta disease awareness and testing program. This dedicated hepatitis delta initiative marks the start of a first-of-its-kind effort by the Hepatitis B Foundation and Eiger BioPharmaceuticals to increase the awareness of and testing for hepatitis delta, the deadliest form of viral hepatitis. Expanded testing enables patients and their healthcare professionals to better understand disease progression and clinical management options.
"Hepatitis delta is the most severe form of viral hepatitis, yet many patients suffering from chronic hepatitis B are unaware of their risk for co-infection with hepatitis delta virus (HDV)," said Robert Gish, MD, Medical Director of the Hepatitis B Foundation, Professor Consultant Stanford University.
This partnership is supportive of the development and commercialization of quantitative HDV-RNA testing methodologies in order to make testing more accessible and reliable. "Current testing for hepatitis delta has been limited, and the only method to confirm presence of HDV infection has been HDV antibody testing. A lack of awareness and testing for HDV has been due in part to the lack of an FDA-approved treatment," said Eduardo Martins, MD, DPhil, Senior Vice President of Liver and Infectious Diseases Drug Development at Eiger. "The availability of a quantitative HDV-RNA assay would enable healthcare professionals to better diagnose and follow progress in HDV-infected patients. Quantitative HDV-RNA assays are in development at several US diagnostic laboratories."
"The Hepatitis B Foundation has played a critical role in educating and organizing the hepatitis B community for 25 years. Given advances in the development of drug candidates for hepatitis delta, the time is right to increase the awareness of hepatitis delta among patients suffering from chronic hepatitis B and the need for HDV testing," said Timothy Block, PhD, President and co-founder of the Hepatitis B Foundation. "We are happy to partner with Eiger in this undertaking. Over the past two decades the Hepatitis B Foundation has had great success in helping reduce the incidence of hepatitis B. In order to further our success, we must address the lack of routine testing for hepatitis delta. World Hepatitis Day 2016 is the right time to start raising awareness of hepatitis delta."
About the Status of HDV Testing Hepatitis delta virus infection is mostly detected by hepatitis delta antibody testing where total HDV Ab, HDV IgG Ab or HDV IgM Ab is measured. A CE-certified, commercial quantitative HDV-RNA RT-PCR assay is available in Europe. No commercial quantitative HDV-RNA assay is available in the US. Quantitative HDV-RNA assays are now in development at several US diagnostic commercial laboratories.
About Hepatitis Delta Virus (HDV) Hepatitis delta (or Hepatitis D) is caused by infection with HDV and is considered to be one of the most severe forms of viral hepatitis in humans. Hepatitis delta occurs only as a co-infection in individuals harboring Hepatitis B Virus (HBV). Hepatitis delta leads to more severe liver disease than HBV alone and is associated with accelerated liver fibrosis, liver cancer, liver failure, and higher risk of death and liver transplants. Hepatitis delta is a disease with a significant impact on global health, and due to migration, may affect up to approximately 15 million people worldwide. The prevalence of HDV varies among different parts of the world. Globally, HDV infection is reported to be present in approximately 5-6% of chronic Hepatitis B carriers. The prevalence of HDV in patients infected with chronic HBV is even higher in certain regions, including certain parts of Mongolia, China, Russia, Central Asia, Pakistan, Turkey, Africa, and South America, with an HDV prevalence as high as 60% being reported in HBV-infected patients in Mongolia and Pakistan.
About Eiger BioPharmaceuticals Eiger is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to bringing to market novel products for the treatment of rare diseases. The company has built a diverse portfolio of well-characterized product candidates with the potential to address diseases for which the unmet medical need is high, the biology for treatment is clear, and for which an effective therapy is urgently needed.
About the Hepatitis B Foundation The Hepatitis B Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization in the US solely dedicated to finding a cure for hepatitis B and improving the quality of life for those affected worldwide through research, education and patient advocacy. To learn more, go to http://www.hepb.org, read our blog at http://wp.hepb.org, follow us on Twitter @HepBFoundation, find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hepbfoundation or call 215-489-4900.