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Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is changing its name to Arbutus Biopharma as it narrows its focus to developing a combination of drugs that can cure chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. The move follows the recently completed merger with OnCore BioPharma, a Doylestown, Pa.-based firm that added a collection of HBV drug candidates to its pipeline. Tekmira hopes to have four HBV drug candidates in clinical studies by the first half of 2016. Meanwhile, the company is creating an independently financed business unit for all non-HBV assets, including preclinical RNAi drug candidates and related delivery technology. Tekmira is also stopping development of TKM-Ebola, an RNAi-based therapy for the treatment of the deadly infection.
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