Just to add onto the effect of the HBV vaccine slowing down research for a Hep B cure, I think HIV research also did the same. As HIV drugs (nucleos/tide analogues such as lamivudine, clevudine, tenofovir, etc.) were found to lower the Hep B replication, liver inflammation and disease progression, this also lowered the drive of the field to try to find a cure (particularly when there was this very new and deadly HCV just discovered). Back then, the priorities (and funding) shifted because it was felt that we at least had some control for Hep B patients.
But now we know a lot more about Hep B and now have chances to finally cure the infection. Scientists are a lot more hopeful and can better see how important this is to patients. This is due to a major part to advocacy at various levels and in countries across the world. Many individual Hep B scientists never stopped working on HBV, but now they are better resourced to do what they do best and can then attract more students/staff to work for them on this important topic.