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3.3.3 Helicase Inhibitors

Vertex Pharmaceuticals is in the preclinical stage of developing an HCV NS3 helicase inhibitor. NS3 helicase is an enzyme that binds to double-stranded HCV RNA and unwinds it so the resulting strands can be used to produce more RNA or translate into proteins. If these strands couldn’t unwind, HCV could not reproduce. Vertex has identified the three-dimensional structure of NS3 helicase, and is studying how it works. Hopefully this knowledge will help design potent inhibitors of this enzyme ( www.vpharm.com).

Genelabs Technologies, Inc. On April 20, 2000, Genelabs announced its discovery of a new class of antiviral compounds, which have demonstrated effectiveness against HCV, as well as other flaviviruses. Some of these compounds are helicase inhibitors. Genelabs is currently conducting in vivo studies to evaluate the antiviral effect in animals as well as evaluating the in vitro antiviral effect on other viruses ( www.genelabs.com).



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