Working Towards HBV Cure, Company Presents Vaccine Data at Liver Conference


Biopharmaceutical company, Vaccitech, has developed its VTP-300 vaccine, and is presenting a poster demonstrating positive early data at the ongoing European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) Congress 2023.

At the ongoing EASL Congress 2023, Vaccitech is planning to present a poster with data about its investigational hepatitis B vaccine, VTP-300. Specifically, the data will come from the company’s phase 1b/2a clinical trial studying the vaccine in adults with chronic hepatitis B (CHB).

According to Vaccitech, topline line data demonstrated there were meaningful, durable reductions of hepatitis B Surface Antigen (HBsAg) in all participants with a >0.5 log10 reduction in HBsAg who received VTP-300 alone (Group 2) or in combination with a single administration of low-dose PD-1 inhibitor, nivolumab (Group 3). Two of five patients with baseline HBsAg below 100 IU/mL in Group 3, developed a non-detectable HBsAg level, which continued eight months after last dose. Reductions in HBsAg were most prominent in those with lower baseline HBsAg. All participants who received VTP-300 and experienced a >0.5 log10 reduction in HBsAg had durable responses with reductions in HBsAg persisting through to the last measurement eight months post-final dose.

“The durable reductions in HBsAg we saw in this study are exciting because they support the idea that VTP-300 could be a critical component to enhancing rates of functional cure for people with chronic Hepatitis B,”Vaccitech’s Chief Medical OfficerMeg Marshall, MD, said in a statement.

The company is involved in discovery and development of novel immunotherapeutics for the treatment of autoimmunity, chronic infectious diseases and cancer.

Trial Specifics
The trial, HBV002, was an open-label phase 1b/2 study to evaluate the safety, tolerability and immunology readout (T cell responses) of VTP-300, with or without low-dose nivolumab, in people with CHB who are virally suppressed with oral anti-viral therapies. In the HBV002 study, 55 participants were randomized into four groups to receive combinations of VTP-300 and low-dose nivolumab, with follow-up for eight months post-final dose.

VTP-300 as monotherapy and in combination with low-dose nivolumab was administered with no treatment-related serious adverse events. As reported previously, two out of 55 participants experienced transaminase flares. Both incidents occurred in participants with HBsAg declines, but not in any of the participants who cleared HBsAg (<0.05 IU/mL).

Group 2
Meaningful, durable reductions of HBsAg were seen in Group 2 (receiving VTP-300 monotherapy, N=18). Three participants had 0.7, 0.7, and 1.4 log10 declines two months post-final dose, with durable responses continuing eight months post-final dose. These participants all had baseline HBsAg <50 IU/mL.

A robust T cell response was generated and was highest in this group and there was a relation demonstrated between ELISpot response and HBsAg decline.

Group 3
Those in Group 3 received VTP-300 followed by a single low dose of nivolumab together with Modified Vaccinia Ankara (MVA)-HBV (N=18). Two months post-final dose, the mean reduction in HBsAg was 0.76 log10 (p<0.001). This effect persisted with a mean decline of 0.98 log10 at eight months (p<0.001) after the last dose and was most prominent with starting values HBsAg <1,000 IU/mL. Two participants developed non-detectable HBsAg levels, which continued eight months after last dose.

Pre-genomic RNA levels fell significantly in the majority of participants in this group only, consistent with the decline in HBsAg levels.

Groups 1 and 4
No meaningful reductions in HBsAg were observed in Group 1, in which participants received two doses of MVA-HBV without ChAdOx1-HBV, or in Group 4, in which participants received low-dose nivolumab with both doses of VTP-300. These groups were discontinued following interim analysis, as previously announced in June 2022.

The Vaccine and Ongoing Trial Plans
VTP-300 is an immunotherapeutic vaccine candidate consisting of an initial dose using the ChAdOx platform and a secondary dose(s) using MVA, both encoding multiple hepatitis B antigens, including full-length surface, modified polymerase and core antigens. VTP-300 is the first antigen-specific immunotherapy that has been shown to induce sustained reductions in HBsAg.

The company has 2 trials in the works. A phase 2b clinical trial (HBV003; NCT05343481) to evaluate timing of the low dose nivolumab, additional doses of the MVA component of VTP-300 and a nucleos(t)ide analogues discontinuation protocol, has been initiated in multiple countries across the Asia-Pacific region, with over 40% of the 120 participants enrolled to date (40 per group) and interim data expected in Q4 2023.

They also have a phase 2a clinical trial, in collaboration with Arbutus Biopharma Corporation, is evaluating the safety, antiviral activity and T cell responses of VTP-300 administered after Arbutus’ AB-729 in 40 virologically-suppressed people with chronic HBV infection, with interim data expected in Q4 2023.

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