Assembly Biosciences Inc., a Carmel-based biotech company with numerous ties to Indiana University and the Hoosier State — has successfully completed part of a Phase I study for a lead drug being developed to treat chronic cases of hepatitis B.
The opening half of the study evaluated the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics (studies of how organisms affect a drug) of a compound known as ABI-H0731 in healthy volunteers. The second half of the study will assess safety, pharmacokinetics and preliminary antiviral efficacy of the drug in patients with chronic hepatitis B. The results of the first half of the study will be reported at a scientific conference later this year.
Founded in 2012, Assembly — which employs about 100 workers and consultants — is built in part around the research of Adam Zlotnick, a professor of molecular and cellular biochemistry at Indiana University Bloomington and co-founder of Assembly. By exploiting vulnerabilities in the capsid assembly of the hepatitis B virus (HBV), it is hoped that the chronic liver infection that it causes — which kills about 786,000 people annually and affects about 240 million people globally according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — can be eradicated.
Other Assembly officials with IU or Indiana ties include:
- William W. Turner, who co-founded Assembly with Zlotnick and is a former visiting scholar in biochemistry at IU-Bloomington. Turner is head of discovery chemistry at Assembly and served for 35 years as a research chemist at Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly & Co.
- Derek Small, a co-founder, CEO and director of Assembly, who earned a bachelors degree in business from Franklin College.
- Richard DiMarchi, an Assembly director who is the Cox Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Gill Chair in Biomolecular Sciences at IU-Bloomington.
- Micah Mackison, Assembly’s vice president of corporate development and strategy, who earned his bachelors degree in finance from IU.
- William Ringo, an Assembly director who also serves as a director for BioCrossroads, an Indiana initiative and public-private collaboration that focuses on growing, advancing and investing in the life sciences.
For more information, including details on upcoming Assembly conference presentations, click here.