Global travel and economic interconnectedness make infectious disease prevention and preparedness high priorities for populations and governments throughout the world. The recent outbreaks of Zika virus and Ebola highlight the risks posed by emerging viruses and the need to develop effective medical countermeasures. Kineta’s antiviral pipeline addresses a growing need for biodefense preparedness.
Kineta is working in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other organizations to advance our innovative research that can address future emerging viral disease outbreaks. Our novel medical countermeasures that are in development may hold the promise to halt the spread of disease and allow communities to return to normalcy more rapidly.
LHF-535 – A first in class antiviral for Lassa Fever
Arenaviruses including Lassa fever, Junin and Machupo pose a global health threat in developing countries in Africa and South America where the infections are endemic. Additionally, there is growing concern that viruses such as Lassa fever are a significant biodefense threat to developed countries.
Lassa hemorrhagic fever is an acute viral illness that is known to be endemic in West Africa.1 Lassa fever causes 100,000-300,000 infections and is responsible for ~5000 deaths annually in West Africa. Death rates are particularly high for women in the third trimester of pregnancy and fetal loss occurs in nearly all infected pregnant women.2 There is a significant unmet medical need as there are currently no therapeutics or vaccines that are indicated to treat Lassa fever.
LHF-535 is a first-in-class antiviral treatment with potent activity against Lassa and other arenaviruses. It inhibits virus entry into target host cells and serves to suppress viral replication. It has demonstrated safety and efficacy in preclinical models. In preclinical studies, LHF-535, reduced virus titers and provided complete survival when administered as a therapeutic in animals infected with Lassa. LHF-535 is a once daily oral therapeutic currently being evaluated in first in human Phase 1 safety studies.
Kineta is receiving funding from the Wellcome Trust to advance LHF-535 through Phase I human safety studies and the National Institutes of Health to investigate broad activity against arenaviruses
1. WHO Lassa Fever Fact Sheet http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs179/en/
2. CDC Lassa Fever Fact Sheet http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/lassa/pdf/factsheet.pdf