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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2015 Oct;59(10):6539-50. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00813-15. Epub 2015 Aug 10.

Preclinical Characterization and In Vivo Efficacy of GSK8853, a Small-Molecule Inhibitor of the Hepatitis C Virus NS4B Protein.

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GlaxoSmithKline, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA
GlaxoSmithKline, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA.
PhoenixBio Co. Ltd., Higashi-Hiroshima, Japan.
GlaxoSmithKline, Collegeville, Pennsylvania, USA.
GlaxoSmithKline, Stevenage, United Kingdom.


The hepatitis C virus (HCV) NS4B protein is an antiviral therapeutic target for which small-molecule inhibitors have not been shown to exhibit in vivo efficacy. We describe here the in vitro and in vivo antiviral activity of GSK8853, an imidazo[1,2-a]pyrimidine inhibitor that binds NS4B protein. GSK8853 was active against multiple HCV genotypes and developed in vitro resistance mutations in both genotype 1a and genotype 1b replicons localized to the region of NS4B encoding amino acids 94 to 105. A 20-day in vitro treatment of replicons with GSK8853 resulted in a 2-log drop in replicon RNA levels, with no resistance mutation breakthrough. Chimeric replicons containing NS4B sequences matching known virus isolates showed similar responses to a compound with genotype 1a sequences but altered efficacy with genotype 1b sequences, likely corresponding to the presence of known resistance polymorphs in those isolates. In vivo efficacy was tested in a humanized-mouse model of HCV infection, and the results showed a 3-log drop in viral RNA loads over a 7-day period. Analysis of the virus remaining at the end of in vivo treatment revealed resistance mutations encoding amino acid changes that had not been identified by in vitro studies, including NS4B N56I and N99H. Our findings provide an in vivo proof of concept for HCV inhibitors targeting NS4B and demonstrate both the promise and potential pitfalls of developing NS4B inhibitors.

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