Virion Therapeutics, LLC announced that the first patients have been dosed in the Phase 1b clinical trial of its investigational VRON-0200 immunotherapy, which is being evaluated as a functional cure for patients with chronic Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. VRON-0200, a first-in-class treatment, using one of Virion's proprietary checkpoint modifiers, was specifically designed to enhance and broaden a patient's own immune response. This novel mechanism of action may help overcome one of the key problems faced in treating chronic HBV - immune exhaustion.

The international, first-in-human VRON-0200 Phase 1b study is currently enrolling patients in Hong Kong and New Zealand, with additional sites planned in the United States. Initial clinical data from this study are expected in early 2024. Despite a preventative vaccine, cases of chronic hepatitis B (HBV) continue to rise, with an estimated 296 million persons infected worldwide and 820,000 deaths per year from HBV-related liver complications.

This includes almost 100 million persons in China who are affected by this disease. Chronic HBV remains a global health issue with a high unmet medical need as there is no cure available. The current standard of care requires lifelong antiviral therapy to keep the virus in check.