Hepatitis Resource Center

Infergen and Actimmune Combination Produces Synergistic Antiviral Effects In Preclinical Models of Hepatitis C

    SAN DIEGO and BRISBANE, Calif., March 31 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --
InterMune, Inc. (Nasdaq: ITMN) today announced that Lawrence Blatt, Ph.D.,
InterMune's Vice President of Biopharmacology Research and Researcher at the
Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, Calif., presented a review of the Company's recent
research on the antiviral effects of its novel interferons, Infergen(R)
(interferon alfacon-1) and Actimmune(R) (interferon-gamma 1b), at the
Cytokines and Beyond conference in San Diego.  Dr. Blatt is a distinguished
researcher in the field of hepatology, credited with leading the development
of consensus interferon.
    The highlight of Dr. Blatt's presentation was the important finding of
synergistic antiviral effects of combination use of Infergen and interferon
gamma-1b in cell-based models of hepatitis C virus (HCV).
    "The fact that combination use of Infergen and interferon gamma-1b
produced synergistic antiviral effects (i.e., significantly more potent than
additive effect of the drugs) in cell-based models of HCV is extremely
exciting," said Dr. Blatt.  "We look forward to further studying the
combination of these two interferons to determine whether better antiviral
effects in patients with this difficult-to-treat disease are possible and
because this could lead to a new treatment paradigm for hepatitis C.
InterMune is continuing our innovative leadership in bio-optimizing and
improving upon our interferon therapies through our applied research programs
in an effort to design our future clinical research programs."
    Dr. Blatt presented results of several recent cell-based studies on the
combination of Infergen and interferon gamma-1b that utilized model systems
for HCV.  Co-administration of interferon gamma-1b and Infergen significantly
reduced the concentration of HCV replicons by up to 100-fold, delivering
significantly higher potency than either drug alone.
    "This applied research program ideally represents InterMune's core
strategy to expand the uses of and indications for our approved products, such
as Infergen and Actimmune," said Scott Harkonen, InterMune's President and
CEO.  "These encouraging data support further research of this combination for
the treatment of hepatitis C infection.  InterMune is now among the companies
at the forefront of research and development in hepatitis C and liver
diseases.  We are very excited about the multiple opportunities we have in our
pipeline, which include our marketed product Infergen, our PEG-Infergen
(pegylated interferon alfacon-1) in Phase I clinical trials for HCV, and
several other earlier-stage applied research and development programs."
    About Infergen for Hepatitis C
    Infergen is a bioengineered type I interferon alpha indicated for
treatment of adult patients with chronic hepatitis C infections.  Infergen is
the only interferon alpha with data in the label regarding use in patients
following relapse or non-response to treatment with certain previous
treatments.  Physicians and patients can obtain additional information about
Infergen, including the product's safety profile by visiting , including the black box warning for all the
interferon alphas.
    Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by hepatitis C virus found in the
blood of infected individuals.  It is the most common form of hepatitis
infection in North America and Europe.  According to the National Center for
Infectious Diseases, an estimated 3.9 million (1.8%) Americans have been
infected by hepatitis C virus, and 2.7 million of these patients are
chronically infected.  If not detected and treated, hepatitis C may lead to
chronic liver disease, including liver cancer, and ranks second to alcoholism
as a cause of cirrhosis.  Hepatitis C causes an estimated 8,000 to
10,000 deaths annually in the United States.
    About Interferon gamma-1b
    Interferon gamma is a naturally occurring protein that stimulates the
immune system.  InterMune markets interferon gamma-1b for the treatment of two
life-threatening congenital diseases:  chronic granulomatous disease and
severe, malignant osteopetrosis.  InterMune is also conducting a Phase III
study of interferon gamma-1b in ovarian cancer and a Phase II study of
interferon gamma-1b for the treatment of severe liver fibrosis, or cirrhosis,
caused by hepatitis C virus (HCV).  Physicians and patients can obtain
additional information about interferon gamma 1-b, including the product's
safety profile, by visiting .
    About InterMune
    InterMune is a commercially driven biopharmaceutical company focused on
the marketing, development and applied research of life-saving therapies for
pulmonary disease, infectious disease and cancer.  For additional information
about InterMune, please visit
    Except for the historical information contained herein, this press release
contains certain forward-looking statements that involve risks and
uncertainties, including without limitation the statement indicating that
combining Infergen (interferon alfacon-1) plus Actimmune (interferon gamma-1b)
may be promising or lead to a new treatment paradigm for chronic hepatitis C.
All forward-looking statements and other information included in this press
release are based on information available to InterMune as of the date hereof,
and InterMune assumes no obligation to update any such forward-looking
statements or information.  InterMune's actual results could differ materially
from those described in InterMune's forward-looking statements.  Factors that
could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to
those discussed under the heading "Risk Factors" and the risks and factors
discussed in InterMune's 10-K report filed with the SEC on March 31, 2002, and
other periodic reports (i.e., 10-Q and 8-K) filed with the SEC.  The risks and
other factors that follow, concerning the forward-looking statements in this
press release, should be considered only in connection with the fully
discussed risks and other factors discussed in detail in the 10-K report and
InterMune's other periodic reports filed with the SEC.  InterMune's
forward-looking statements that combining Infergen and interferon gamma-1b may
be promising or lead to a new treatment paradigm for chronic hepatitis C are
subject to the uncertainties and risks associated with the uncertain, lengthy
and expensive clinical development and regulatory process; achieving positive
clinical trial results; patient enrollment and retention in clinical trials;
budget constraints; third-party manufacturers; whether InterMune is able to
obtain, maintain and enforce patents and other intellectual property; and
significant regulatory, supply, intellectual property and competitive barriers
to entry.
SOURCE InterMune, Inc.
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