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Janssen buys hepatitis C candidate from GSK

J&J subsidiary acquires rights to NS5A inhibitor

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Johnson & Johnson's Janssen unit has bolstered its hepatitis C virus treatment portfolio with the acquisition of a phase II candidate from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

Janssen has taken full ownership of GSK2336805, a once-daily NS5A inhibitor that GSK had advanced into phase II testing for chronic hepatitis C infection in adults with compensated liver disease, including all stages of liver fibrosis.

The company plans to start trials combining GSK2336805 with its non-nucleoside polymerase inhibitor TMC647055 and simeprevir (TMC435) - an NS3/4A protease inhibitor developed with Sweden's Medivir.

"This addition will broaden our clinical development programme as we continue to look for new investigational interferon-free treatment combinations to combat the hepatitis C virus," said Janssen's hepatitis project head Gaston Picchio.

J&J is in a race with a number of other companies to bring an all-oral treatment regimen for hepatitis C to market in order to free patients from the need for injectable and sometimes hard-to-tolerate interferon alfa-based treatment.

Simeprevir has been submitted for regulatory approval in the US, Canada and Europe, and was approved last month in Japan, but a number of other companies are already in the latter phases of development for all-oral hepatitis C regimens.

AbbVie and Gilead Sciences are currently thought to be leading the charge on interferon-free regimens with combination therapies in phase III, although Bristol-Myers Squibb, Boehringer Ingelheim and Merck & Co have also reach the latter stages of testing with their own candidates.

The sheer scale of the hepatitis C virus market in terms of the number of people infected worldwide means it is expected to swell to more than $20bn a year once all-oral regimens hit the market.


Article by
Phil Taylor

9th October 2013

From: Research, Sales

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