International Liver Congress
International Liver Congress
April 24, 2019
4 min watch

VIDEO: Janssen HBV pipeline focuses on ‘increasing functional cure’ rates

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VIENNA — In this exclusive video from the International Liver Congress 2019, James Merson, PhD, global therapeutic area head for infectious diseases at Janssen, discusses the company’s pipeline for hepatitis B with a focus on improving functional cure rates.

“For us at Janssen, HBV and being able to increase functional cure rates of patients living with HBV is an important part of our strategy as to how we can manage the disease more effectively than the current treatments do today,” Merson told Healio Gastroenterology and Liver Disease.

“We have a number of different modalities that we’re looking at to increase functional cure rates,” he continued. “Standard of care today — nucleos(t)ide analogues — get around 3% functional cure rates. We’re looking to make a meaningful difference for those patients, so they no longer have to take lifelong therapies to manage their disease.”

Merson provided details on the company’s HBV pipeline that includes two capsid assembly modulators that have shown “impressive” antiviral activity in phase 2a studies, a small interfering RNA molecule that has demonstrated HBV surface antigen suppression in a phase 2a study that continued after 3 months of stopping treatment, and a toll-like receptor 7 agonist that has shown promise in early phase 1 trials.

“As we look forward, we are trying to find the optimal doses and dosing frequency for each of these modulators and how best to combine each one of those with various partners to see whether we can truly increase the functional cure rates in patients chronically infected with HBV rates.”


Harrison SA. Abstract SAT-300. Presented at: International Liver Congress; April 10-14, 2019; Vienna, Austria.

Disclosure: Merson is the global therapeutics area head for infectious diseases at Janssen.

Editor's note: This video has been updated to correct information and formatting.