HBV Cure: The Mechanisms Behind Combination Therapies

ICE-HBV Toronto Symposium on HBV Cure: The Mechanisms Behind Combination Therapies endorsed by the International HBV Meeting will be held in September 2021. The event is aimed at scientists, clinicians, pharmaceutical and diagnostic industry representatives.  The symposium, chaired by Fabien Zoulim and John Tavis, will debate challenges surrounding combination therapies and propose a way forward.

Background & Objectives:

Functional cure for chronic HBV infections, defined as stable post-therapy loss of HBV surface antigen, is the major goal of current HBV cure strategies using direct acting antivirals and/or anti-HBV immune-stimulating responses. The new drugs that are currently being developed and tested will most likely be used as components of combination therapies. It is essential to understand the mechanisms behind the anticipated therapeutic combinations in the pipeline to prepare for future clinical trials. The ICE-HBV symposium will address the following questions:

  • Which combinations make mechanistic sense, and why?
      • Combinations of direct acting antivirals to decrease the cccDNA pool?
      • Combinations of compounds that stimulate and enhance function of specific B/T cells?
  • What pre-clinical evidence is needed to justify advancing a combination into clinical trials? What is the pre-clinical evidence for combination of antiviral and immune strategies?
  • What is the best way to design combination trials to advance the most promising drugs efficiently and rapidly?
      • Clinical trial design for the various combinations.
      • Use of novel biomarkers to assist those trials.

In this workshop, a range of academic and industry experts will discuss the latest advances and identify knowledge gaps in our understanding of combination mechanisms. They will discuss challenges that need to be overcome to ensure the efficacy and safety of combination therapies. Presentations will be complemented by in-depth discussion panels that will debate these challenges and propose a way forward.


SEPTEMBER 30th – 9:15AM TO 1:00Pm

symposium Co-Chairs: Fabien Zoulim AND John Tavis

See Symposium Chair Bios

Fabien Zoulim obtained his M.D. in Gastroenterology and Hepatology in Lyon Medical School in 1991. He has also obtained a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology and was trained as a post-doctoral researcher at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. He is Professor of Medicine at Lyon I University since 1997. He is currently Medical Director of the Hepatology Department at the Hospices Civils de Lyon, and Scientific Director of the Department of Immunology and Virology of INSERM Unit 1052 where he is leading the team on ‘Antiviral therapy of viral hepatitis’. Dr Zoulim has served as an Associate Editor for Journal of Hepatology and is currently Associate Editor for Gut. He also served as an expert in the microbiology study section of the INSERM and is currently head of the clinical viral hepatitis study section at ANRS. He served as a Governing Board member of the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL). Dr Zoulim received the William Prusoff award of the International Society for Antiviral Research. Furthermore, he has been the scientific coordinator of a European community-funded Network of Excellence on the management of antiviral drug resistance, and is currently head of the ANRS “HBV cure” program in France. Fabien Zoulim is a recognised expert in the field of viral hepatitis and antiviral therapy. He has published more than 350 articles (H index 63, Web of Science)

John Tavis, Ph.D., is a Professor of Molecular Virology at Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA. He has studied the HBV replication mechanism of HBV and the biochemistry of the viral reverse transcriptase since 1992. He serves as the Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council for the annual Molecular Biology of the Hepatitis B Viruses Meeting and as a member of the Council for Extramural Grants at the American Cancer Society. His current work focuses on developing novel drugs to suppress HBV replication that target the essential viral ribonuclease H enzyme..

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Time Topic Presenter
9:15-9:20am Opening Remarks  
9:20-9:35am Combinations of direct acting antivirals to decrease the cccDNA pool  
9:35-9:50am Combinations of compounds that stimulate and enhance function of HBV-specific B/T cells  
9:50-10:05am Pre-clinical evidence for combination strategies  
10:05-10:20am Q&As  
10:20-10:40am Coffee Break  
10:40-10:55am Clinical trial design for combination therapies  
10:55-11:10am Use of novel biomarkers to assist combination trials  
11:10-11:25am Flares in clinical trials: Who is good ? Who is bad?  
11:25-11:40am HBV and HDV cross utility for drug development  
11:40-12:00pm Q&As  
12:00-12:45pm Round-table discussion: the Industry perspective on combination therapy  

This event is endorsed by the HBV International Meeting.