The drug company Rigel expects to initiate clinical trials of its experimental hepatitis C drug known as R803 in the fourth quarter of 2003.
R803 is a small-molecule oral drug that targets the hepatitis C virus by interfering with viral polymerase, a protein needed by the virus for its replication.
Interfering with this protein, according to Rigel, incorporates a substantially different mechanism than the current standard therapy of interferon alpha, which primarily works indirectly to boost the immune system and can only be delivered by means of an injection.
Dr. Donald G. Payan, Rigel's chief scientific officer, will provide an overview of Rigel's efforts to develop potential small molecule drugs to treat hepatitis C at a briefing November 19 in New York.
Other sources: Rigel