Unlocking a Powerful Weapon Against Liver Cancer: Hepion Pharmaceuticals’ Breakthrough Discovery
EDISON, N.J., Sept. 19, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — In a groundbreaking revelation, Hepion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:HEPA), a trailblazing biopharmaceutical company driven by Artificial Intelligence (“AI”), has unveiled a remarkable breakthrough in the potential of its lead drug candidate, rencofilstat, to combat liver cancer.
This remarkable revelation emerged from a cutting-edge research study employing a technique known as ATAC-Seq (“assay for transposase-accessible chromatin with sequencing”). It’s a method that peels back the layers of chromatin structure, shedding light on the gene expression dynamics crucial in cancer. While genes in an open state drive expression, those in a closed state remain silent.
Hepion’s ATAC-Seq experiments, conducted on two liver cancer cell lines, showcased the astonishing impact of rencofilstat. Within a mere hour of treatment, this game-changing candidate triggered substantial alterations in the open-closed DNA states—around 4,500 sites, surpassing even the reach of the chemotherapeutic compound azacytidine known for reshaping DNA structure.
The intriguing part? Rencofilstat’s influence on DNA openness or closure depended on the specific cell line. Remarkably, in the cell line where it suppressed cell growth, rencofilstat predominantly closed DNA, hinting at its anti-cancer prowess through gene silencing.
But the revelations didn’t stop there. Rencofilstat’s magic touch extended to the accessibility of crucial genes. Genes linked to tumor suppression, such as CDKN1A (p21), PTEN, HINT1, KLF6, and SOCS1, found themselves liberated by rencofilstat. In a twist of fate for cancer, a notorious oncogene, NOTCH1, was predicted to be silenced. The changes in gene accessibility seemed to lean toward an anti-cancer mechanism, ushering in a potential wave of cancer cell demise.
Dr. Daren Ure, Hepion’s Chief Scientific Officer, emphasized the groundbreaking nature of these findings. He pointed out that while cyclophilin inhibitors like rencofilstat have shown anti-tumor effects in preclinical studies, this newfound ability to alter DNA accessibility for potential oncogene suppression marks a groundbreaking revelation.
Rencofilstat’s journey began with Orphan Drug designation for NASH treatment, but its horizons have expanded. Hepion has secured FDA clearance for a Phase 2 clinical trial targeting HCC, the most prevalent liver cancer type. This discovery strengthens Hepion’s resolve to advance HCC trials, with rencofilstat emerging as a promising weapon against both NASH and HCC—two intricately linked liver diseases.
Hepion’s CEO, Robert Foster, summed it up: “These latest findings underscore rencofilstat’s multifaceted properties—its liver-targeting, antifibrotic, anti-cancer, and antiviral potential. We’re dedicated to tackling the pressing issues of our time—NASH and HCC—with this remarkable breakthrough.
About Hepion Pharmaceuticals
At the forefront of Hepion Pharmaceuticals’ mission is their lead drug candidate, rencofilstat, a formidable inhibitor of cyclophilins—a key player in various disease mechanisms. Rencofilstat has emerged as a beacon of hope, demonstrating its ability to shrink liver fibrosis and alleviate the burden of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in experimental models. Currently, it’s making waves in Phase 2 clinical trials, setting its sights on the formidable foe of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
Back in November 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognized rencofilstat’s potential by granting it Fast Track designation for NASH treatment—a pivotal step in expediting its development. The momentum continued in June 2022 when the FDA bestowed Orphan Drug designation upon rencofilstat for its remarkable promise in treating HCC.
But what truly sets Hepion apart is their pioneering Artificial Intelligence deep machine learning (AI/ML) platform. This cutting-edge technology is designed not only to decipher the intricacies of disease processes but also to pinpoint those individuals who respond most favorably to rencofilstat. The result? A potential acceleration of development timelines and a clearer distinction between the placebo and treatment groups.
Moreover, Hepion’s AI/ML platform isn’t confined to the lab—it’s a driving force behind their NASH and HCC clinical development programs. Beyond that, it holds the key to uncovering new therapeutic horizons, unveiling fresh opportunities for cyclophilin inhibition with rencofilstat. Hepion’s commitment to innovation is transforming the landscape of disease treatment.
In the realm of innovation and discovery, our journey is not without its twists and turns. We embark on a path that holds both promise and unpredictability, and it’s essential to acknowledge the forward-looking nature of our aspirations.
As we navigate this landscape, words like ‘anticipate,’ ‘believe,’ ‘forecast,’ ‘estimate,’ and ‘intend’ become our guiding stars. They illuminate our vision, but they also carry a reminder that our future is a tapestry of possibilities. Our current expectations fuel our endeavors, but reality may weave a different tale.
Numerous factors shape our trajectory, and we acknowledge the potential divergence between our expectations and outcomes. Competition looms large, and securing the resources to continue our mission remains pivotal. The dynamic landscape of patent protection and litigation adds complexity, while the enduring challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic cast a shadow of uncertainty.
We tread carefully through the intricate web of clinical trials, knowing that the past may not always predict the future. Questions surrounding government and third-party payer reimbursement further color our journey. Collaborations with third parties become pivotal, and adherence to FDA regulations is non-negotiable.
In the world of drug development, risk is an ever-present companion. We acknowledge the hurdles in the development, regulatory approval, and commercialization of new products. There’s no crystal ball to guarantee the outcomes of the clinical trials we discuss today, nor can we foresee the commercial success of any product.
But as we forge ahead, we embrace these challenges with resilience. We understand that our journey is marked by uncertainty, and we are committed to transparency. We may not have all the answers today, but our dedication remains unwavering.
In this pursuit of innovation, we embark on a mission that defies the ordinary, and we invite you to join us on this extraordinary journey. Together, we’ll venture into uncharted territory, guided by the spirit of discovery and the resilience of progress. Stay tuned for the unfolding chapters of our story, for there is much yet to be revealed.