Johnson & Johnson to purchase Novira Therapeutics


Will complement and strengthen J&J's existing pipeline to combat Hepatitis B

Johnson & Johnson will pay an undisclosed sum to acquire Novira Therapeutics, a privately held, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that is developing treatments for hepatitis B and a portfolio of antivirals.

Under the agreement, Johnson & Johnson will acquire the Pennsylvania-based biotech's NVR 3-778, a small molecule, direct acting antiviral, for oral administration in patients with hepatitis B that inhibits the capsid protein to disrupt the process of viral replication.

The deal is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2015.

'We are excited about the prospect this acquisition offers to accelerate the development of curative treatments for people affected by chronic hepatitis B,' said William N. Hait, Global Head, Research & Development, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.

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'NVR 3-778 offers the potential for efficient suppression of virus production and replication, which could help address the remaining unmet medical needs,' he said.