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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2006 Sep;50(9):2976-82.

NIM811, a cyclophilin inhibitor, exhibits potent in vitro activity against hepatitis C virus alone or in combination with alpha interferon.

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  • 1Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, Inc., 500 Technology Square, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

Abstract

Host factors involved in viral replication are potentially attractive antiviral targets that are complementary to specific inhibitors of viral enzymes, since resistant mutations against the latter are likely to emerge during long-term treatment. It has been reported recently that cyclosporine, which binds to a family of cellular proteins, cyclophilins, inhibits hepatitis C virus (HCV) replication in vitro. Here, the activities of various cyclosporine derivatives were evaluated in the HCV replicon system. There was a strong correlation between the anti-HCV activity and cyclophilin-binding affinity of these compounds. Of these, NIM811 has been selected as a therapeutic candidate for HCV infection, since it binds to cyclophilins with higher affinity than cyclosporine but is devoid of the significant immunosuppressive activity associated with cyclosporine. NIM811 induced a concentration-dependent reduction of HCV RNA in the replicon cells with a 50% inhibitory concentration of 0.66 microM at 48 h. Furthermore, a greater than three-log(10) viral RNA reduction was achieved after treating the cells with as little as 1 microM of NIM811 for 9 days. In addition, the combination of NIM811 with alpha interferon significantly enhanced anti-HCV activities without causing any increase of cytotoxicity. Taken together, these promising in vitro data warrant clinical investigation of NIM811, an inhibitor of novel mechanism, for the treatment of hepatitis C.

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