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For a startup founded last year last year, Vir Biotechnology has a lot going for it. At its helm is George Scangos, the former Biogen CEO. It has $500 million from investors — including very early investments from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — and a pipeline with dozens of potential drugs.

Now, it has its first clinical trial: a drug for hepatitis B. The company announced Monday that it had begun dosing in a Phase 1 trial for its drug based on the gene-silencing technology known as RNA interference, or RNAi.

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