November 06, 2015
1 min read

Johnson & Johnson acquires Novira to expand HBV pipeline

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To strengthen its hepatitis B virus infection pipeline, Johnson & Johnson announced it has acquired Novira Therapeutics Inc., a private biopharmaceutical company currently developing therapies for the infection, including its lead agent, NVR 3-778.

“We are excited about the prospect this acquisition offers to accelerate the development of curative treatments for people affected by chronic hepatitis B,” William N. Hait, MD, PhD, global head, research and development, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, Johnson & Johnson, said in a press release. “NVR 3-778 offers the potential for efficient suppression of virus production and replication, which could help address the remaining unmet medical needs.”

NVR 3-778, a direct-acting antiviral, works to inhibit the HBV capsid protein when administered orally to patients with HBV and is currently “involved in multiple activities required for viral replication and persistence,” according to the release.

“Chronic hepatitis B is a potentially fatal liver disease with approximately 60 percent of hepatocellular carcinoma attributed to infection with the hepatitis B virus,” Lawrence Blatt, PhD, global head, infectious diseases and vaccines, Janssen, and CEO of Alios Biopharma, part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, said in the release. “With more than 350 million people affected worldwide, we seek to overcome treatment challenges, such as the requirement for people to endure lifelong therapy, through scientific innovation.”

Blatt continued: “Combining Novira’s recent breakthroughs with our vast experience in viral diseases, we endeavor to deliver novel medicines for patients suffering from this insidious disease.”

Financial terms of the agreement have not been released, according to the release. The closing of the agreement is subject to clearance under customary closing conditions and is expected to close by the end of 2015.

Disclosure: Hait is employed by Johnson & Johnson. Blatt is employed by Janssen.