Formerly the group director of virology at Connecticut-based Bristol-Myers Squibb, Robert Hindes, MD, now works at Trek Therapeutics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he serves as the chief medical officer. A co-founder of the company, Robert Hindes, MD, helps oversee Trek Therapeutics’ mission of treating undiagnosed hepatitis C worldwide.
Trek Therapeutics has an ambitious goal – to unveil a new cure for the hepatitis C virus (HCV) within the next two years. The company is targeting Mexico and countries in Central and Eastern Europe. These countries have a difficult time accessing traditional HCV treatments because they lie in the “middle-income” area and aren’t eligible for drastically reduced prices for medicine that are made available in impoverished areas.
Trek Therapeutics is working to develop an affordable regiment that does not produce the liver issues (damage, failure, cancer) that the current crop of drugs can cause. In its flagship trial, Trek Therapeutics was able to cure all the patients who took part in its new regimen, and the company is confident it will be ready to roll out the new treatment by 2020.
As the co-founder and chief medical officer of Trek Therapeutics, Robert Hindes, MD, is responsible for designing and managing clinical studies evaluating Trek’s hepatitis C drugs. Robert Hindes, MD, and Trek have recently been focused on trials involving TD-6450 and faldaprevir, two of the company’s most promising in-licensed assets.
In mid-June, Trek Therapeutics began a new study to evaluate the effectiveness of TD-6450 plus faldaprevir against HCV genotype 1b. The study will measure the regimen’s effectiveness both with and without the addition of ribavirin, an antiviral commonly used to treat HCV. These trials are being conducted in both New Zealand and the United States.
Trek’s next generation NS5A inhibitor, TD-6450, is an essential component in the combination drug regimen. TD-6450 was designed to perform better than similar antivirals, especially against the particular strains that were resistant to first generation NS5A inhibitors. So far, TD-6450 and faldaprevir results have been very encouraging, demonstrating rapid and sustained suppression of HCV. If all goes well, these new treatments may be able to improve quality of life for people infected with HCV but with poor access to the expensive regimens being marketed in the US and Europe.
As chief medical officer of Trek Therapeutics, a public benefit corporation, Robert Hindes, MD, heads a clinical team focused on developing affordable antiviral drugs for global markets. In June 2016, Robert Hindes, MD, and his company announced the start of a Phase 2a study of TD-6450 plus faldaprevir, with and without ribavirin, involving patients with genotype 1b (GT 1b) HCV infection at sites in the United States and New Zealand.
The new study follows the analysis of interim results for the same set of drugs being used to treat patients with HCV GT 4. The 16-patient study yielded successful results, with HCV RNA <LLOQ in all patients by Week 3 of treatment, and SVR in all 10 patients who have post-dosing results.
TD-6450 has been designed to provide better antiviral activity results with genotype 1 resistance-associated variants that are resistant to previously developed NS5A inhibitors, such as daclatasvir. Faldaprevir is a protease inhibitor that is highly active against HCV GT 1 and 4.
During his time with Pharmasset, Robert Hindes, MD, helped to develop the HCV drug Sovaldi and led the company’s clinical development program. When the company was purchased by Gilead Sciences, Robert Hindes, MD, temporarily joined the Gilead team in a transitional capacity before leaving to cofound his own company.
In late 2011, pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences announced an agreement to purchase the smaller company Pharmasset for $137 per share, or roughly $11 billion in total. This represented nearly a third of Gilead’s total value at the time, making the purchase both risky and rather remarkable. Pharmasset, which had less than 100 employees at the time of purchase, was a small research-based company that was making significant progress with two different drugs meant to treat chronic hepatitis C (HCV).
Gilead Sciences and Pharmasset representatives agreed that the companies shared a common vision for the development of HCV treatments. At the time, Gilead was making progress with its own HCV treatments, but determined that acquiring the Pharmasset nucleoside polymerase inhibitors would help it compete on a higher level and bring effective therapies to the public even faster.