Assembly Pharmaceuticals and BioCrossroads Announce Investment to Advance Potentially Curative Therapy for Chronic Hepatitis B Virus

— Assembly Pharmaceuticals and BioCrossroads today announced that the
BioCrossroads Indiana Seed Fund II has made an investment in Assembly
Pharmaceuticals. Assembly is developing novel drugs for the treatment and
potential cure of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Johnson & Johnson
Development Corporation, Twilight Ventures, Luson Bioventures and private
investors also participated in the financing round.

Assembly Pharmaceuticals is applying its novel science to develop agents with
the potential to cure chronic HBV. HBV is an underappreciated global epidemic
with more than 350 million people worldwide chronically infected, including two
million in the U.S. Chronic HBV causes cirrhosis and liver failure, and it is a
leading cause of liver cancer. Over 600,000 deaths each year are attributable to
HBV. Current treatments can suppress the infection but require lifelong therapy
since they are not curative.

Assembly Pharmaceuticals was formed in 2012 to develop drugs based on the
breakthrough science of co-founder and Indiana University professor Adam
Zlotnick, PhD. Dr. Zlotnick is a pioneer in the biophysics of viral capsid
assembly. His research has led to the discovery of multiple families of small
molecules known as Core Protein Allosteric Modulators (CpAMs), which target the
HBV core protein, a unique viral protein with no human analogue that is involved
in multiple stages of the HBV life cycle.

Assembly has exclusively licensed intellectual property from Indiana University
Research and Technology Corporation that was discovered in the laboratory of
Professor Zlotnick. Assembly has a research collaboration with Indiana
University and also has research facilities in San Francisco led by co-founder,
vice president of R&D and chief medical officer Uri Lopatin, MD, who previously
led HBV programs at Gilead Sciences and Roche Pharmaceuticals.

“Current HBV treatments have cure rates of only 3 to 5%, and thus are not
curative for the vast majority of patients,” said Derek Small, co-founder and
executive chairman of Assembly Pharmaceuticals. “Our HBV drug candidates
modulate the viral core protein. By altering the core protein’s functions across
multiple stages in the viral life cycle, Assembly’s novel therapies have the
potential to permanently clear the virus. We are delighted at the vote of
confidence this BioCrossroads investment represents.”

“In addition to their breakthrough science discovered here in Indiana, Assembly
Pharmaceuticals has one of the most talented and impressive management and
research teams in the industry,” said David L. Johnson, president and CEO,
BioCrossroads. “Their promising HBV therapy could be a game-changing treatment
for millions of people around the world.”

Assembly was co-founded by Indiana biotechnology entrepreneurs Richard DiMarchi,
PhD, currently a distinguished professor at Indiana University, and Derek Small,
a successful serial biopharmaceutical entrepreneur. The other founders include
Dr. Zlotnick, Dr. Lopatin and William Turner, who was previously a successful
discovery medicinal chemist at Lilly Research Laboratories for over 30 years.
Dr. DiMarchi oversaw the development of many major drugs while at Eli Lilly and
is also a founder of multiple successful life sciences ventures. Derek Small
most recently served as founding CEO and president of clinical-stage CNS drug
development innovator Naurex and founding CEO and president of drug discovery
platform company, Coferon.

The initial financing is being used to advance drug candidates through
preclinical proof of concept, broaden the research collaboration in Indiana, and
establish the company’s biology labs in San Francisco.

The Indiana Seed Fund II is an early-stage fund focused on identifying, creating
and developing the next generation of leading Indiana-based life sciences
companies. It is managed by BioCrossroads and makes investments in early-stage
biotechnology, pharmaceutical, medical device, diagnostic, ag-biotech and health
information technology products and platforms.

In addition to operations in Indiana, Assembly has offices and laboratories at
Janssen Labs @QB3 in San Francisco. Through a collaboration with QB3, Janssen
Labs @QB3 aims to provide a capital efficient, flexible model for external
companies pursuing important healthcare innovations.

About BioCrossroads
BioCrossroads ( advances Indiana’s signature strengths in
the life sciences by connecting with corporate, academic and philanthropic
partners; facilitating investments in promising start ups and building new
enterprises; and educating through conferences, reports and market development
knowledge. The initiative supports the region’s existing research and corporate
strengths while encouraging new business development and has formed several new
nonprofit organizations, including Indiana Health Information Exchange,
BioCrossroadsLINX, OrthoWorx, and Datalys Center.

About Assembly Pharmaceuticals
Assembly Pharmaceuticals is a virology-focused biopharmaceutical company with a
discovery platform and programs based on proprietary Core Protein Allosteric
Modulators (CpAMs) for the treatment of viral infections, starting with
hepatitis B (HBV). CpAMs can alter the activities of the HBV core protein, a
unique viral protein with no human analogue that is involved in multiple stages
of the HBV life cycle. In contrast to current therapies that only suppress HBV,
Assembly Pharmaceutical’s CpAMs may have curative potential by eliminating the
viral reservoir in infected individuals. Hepatitis B infection has a worldwide
prevalence of over 350 million and more than 600,000 people die every year from
complications associated with chronic HBV. Assembly has operations in Indiana
and San Francisco.


Lori LeRoy Barbara Lindheim

BioCrossroads Assembly Pharma Media

(317) 238-2456 (office) (212) 584-2276

(317)514-0095 (cell) (917) 355-9234

SOURCE Assembly Pharmaceuticals

Leave a Reply

Fatal error: Call to undefined function show_subscription_checkbox() in /home3/steer/public_html/ on line 95