Table 3

 Future drugs for the treatment of hepatitis C

Future therapiesCharacteristics
HCV, hepatitis C virus; PEG-IFN, pegylated interferon.
Albuferon-alpha (Human Genome Science) phase IIILonger half life than PEG-IFN due to fusion of albumin to IFN (85.7 kDa).
Viramidine (Valeant) phase IIIProdrug of ribavirin with less anaemia.
HCV protease inhibitors, HCV polymerase inhibitors phase I/II (see table 5)Direct antiviral action with fewer side effects than IFN. Direct inhibition of the HCV protease/HCV polymerase which are crucial for viral replication.
Other small molecules (eg ribozymes, siRNA, antisense molecules) phase I/IIDirect antiviral effect with potentially fewer side effects than IFN. Interference with the HCV genome or blocking translation leading to inhibition of viral replication.
Caspase inhibitors (eg IDN-6556, Pfizer) phase I/IIAntifibrogenic effect. Reduction of hepatocyte apoptosis and reduction of hepatic stellate cell activation.
Toll-like receptor agonists (CpG 10101-TLR-9 agonist, Coley; ANA-975 TLR-7 agonist; Anadys) phase ITherapeutic stimulation of Toll-like receptor pathways to modulate (Th1 shift) immune responses and to stimulate innate immunity.
Therapeutic vaccination (E1y—protein vaccine, Innogenetics; IC-41—peptide vaccine, Intercell) phase I/IIStimulation of the impaired HCV specific immune response in order to control viral replication or alter the natural course of the disease (regression of fibrosis).