Vesatolimod is an oral agonist of toll-like receptor 7 designed to minimize systemic exposure and side effects. We assessed the safety and efficacy of vesatolimod in viremic chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients not currently on oral antiviral treatment (OAV) in a phase 2, multicentre, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. A total of 192 patients stratified by HBeAg status and alanine aminotransferase level were randomized 2:2:2:1 to receive oral vesatolimod (1-, 2- or 4-mg) or placebo once weekly for 12 weeks; tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (300-mg daily) was administered daily for 48 weeks. Efficacy was assessed by quantitative serum HBsAg decline at Week 24 from baseline. In addition to safety assessments, changes in whole-blood interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) transcripts and serum cytokines were explored. Most patients were male (64.1%) and HBeAg-negative (60.9%) at baseline. Among vesatolimod-treated patients, most (60.4%-69.1%) experienced ≥1 treatment-emergent adverse event; the majority were mild or moderate in severity. No clinically meaningful differences in HBsAg changes from baseline were observed between treatment groups. No patients experienced HBsAg loss, while 3 patients experienced HBeAg loss and hepatitis B e-antibody seroconversion at week 48. HBV DNA suppression rates were similar across all treatment arms at Week 24. ISG15 induction was dose-dependent and did not correlate with HBsAg changes. A small proportion of patients exhibited dose-dependent interferon-α induction that correlated with grade of influenza-like adverse events. Overall, vesatolimod is safe and well tolerated in CHB patients. Although consistent dose-dependent pharmacodynamic induction of ISGs was demonstrated, it did not result in clinically significant HBsAg decline.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases