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ContraVir Pharma collaborates with Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology to develop vaccines for HBV infection

Edison, New Jersey
Saturday, October 21, 2017, 12:00 Hrs  [IST]

ContraVir Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of targeted antiviral therapies, announced a collaboration with the Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology (LKSIoV).

LKSIoV brings together clinicians and basic scientists to study the development of viral vaccines and antiviral therapies to reduce fatal outcomes of viral infections through the use of  scientific research as well as human epidemiologic and genetic studies. LKSIoV has 37 Principal Investigators and approximately 150 trainees and employees. LKSIoV builds on internationally recognized virology expertise and infrastructure with global connections to such partners as the US National Institutes of Health, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Helmholtz Centre for Infection and Research. The LKSIoV was created in 2010 through the combined gifts of $25 million from the Li Ka Shing (Canada) Foundation and $52.5 million from the Government of Alberta to support the Applied Virology Institute, led by Dr. Michael Houghton.

The Founding Director of LKSIoV is Dr. D. Lorne Tyrrell, Distinguished University Professor at the University of Alberta. Dr. Tyrrell’s research has focused on viral hepatitis since 1986 and his research, supported by Canadian Institutes of Health Research CIHR and Glaxo Canada (now GSK), resulted in the licensing of the first oral antiviral agent to treat chronic hepatitis B infection – lamivudine – in 1998. Today, lamivudine is licensed in over 200 countries worldwide for the treatment of HBV. Dr. Tyrrell was Dean, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry from 1994-2004, and earned numerous prestigious awards including the Prix Galien Canada Research Award (1998), the Gold Medal of the Canadian Liver Foundation (2000), Alberta Order of Excellence (2000), Officer of the Order of Canada (2002), the Frederic Newton Gisborne Starr Award from the Canadian Medical Association (2004), the Fellow of the Royal Society (2004), and the Killam Prize for Health Research (2015), among others. Dr. Tyrrell has also taken on several Board positions, including the Chair of the Board of the Institute of Health Economics, Chair of the Gairdner Foundation Board, and member of the Research Advisory Council for the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. He has also been appointed to the Science Advisory Board to Health Canada. Dr. Tyrrell has also been involved in the establishment of several biotech companies, including KMT Hepatech Inc., based on the first non-primate animal model for Hepatitis C Virus.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to play a significant role in this collaboration between ContraVir and the Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology,” commented Dr. Lorne Tyrrell. “This is a perfect example of how industry, academia, as well as the public and private sectors can come together with a sharp focus and depth of expertise to create and understand novel ways to treat HBV and other viruses.”

ContraVir has previously presented data demonstrating the synergistic antiviral activity from the combination of its two proprietary HBV drug candidates CRV431 and TXL (ContraVir, April 22, 2017). “ContraVir is honored to work with Dr. Tyrrell, and his team at the Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology,” stated James Sapirstein, Chief Executive Officer of ContraVir. We are confident that this collaboration will further explore the mechanisms of action of CRV431 and TXL and give us a significant advantage in addressing the unmet medical needs that continue to burden HBV infected patients.


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