Monday, September 11, 2017

Janssen to Discontinue Hepatitis C Development Program

J&J pulls plug on Medivir-Achillion hep C cocktail to focus on hep B
by Ben Adams
Why? The same reason others have dropped out of the development and sales race: There are too many good treatments and increasingly, those without the need for injection, which has seen domination from Gilead’s curative meds Sovaldi and Harvoni.
These meds, as well as others from Big Pharmas, can effectively cure the vast majority of patients with hep C in a few months; Gilead itself has been a victim of its own success, seeing tens of billions of dollars for its therapies after launch, but this started to quickly dwindle after patients no longer needed them.
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Janssen to Discontinue Hepatitis C Development Program
Viral Hepatitis Research and Development to Focus on Addressing Significant Unmet Needs in Chronic Hepatitis B

CORK, Ireland, September 11, 2017 - Janssen Sciences Ireland UC (Janssen), today announced a strategic decision to discontinue further development of the investigational hepatitis C treatment regimen JNJ-4178, a combination of three direct acting antivirals - AL-335, odalasvir and simeprevir. The ongoing phase II studies with JNJ-4178 will be completed as planned, but there will be no additional development thereafter. This decision was made in light of the increasing availability of a number of highly effective therapies addressing the medical need in hepatitis C.

'Going forward, our hepatitis R&D efforts will focus on chronic hepatitis B, where a high unmet medical need still exists. Our scientists are energized by this challenge and our research ambition is to achieve a functional cure of hepatitis B which affects over a quarter of a billion people globally,' said Lawrence M. Blatt, Ph.D., Global Therapeutic Area Head, Infectious Disease Therapeutics, Janssen. 'At Janssen, we focus our research and development on areas of greatest unmet medical need where we can combine our excellent internal science with the best available external innovation to bring optimized solutions and maximum benefit to patients.'

Janssen pioneered the advancement of the first innovations in hepatitis C for nearly a decade when it co-developed telaprevir, a first-in-class protease inhibitor used in combination therapy for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus. In collaboration with Medivir AB, Janssen subsequently developed and launched the second generation protease inhibitor OLYSIO(simeprevir),which is approved in countries around the world.

Today, people living with hepatitis C have a much more diverse range of therapies available following a wave of innovative treatments securing approval. For most, the standard of care for hepatitis C therapy has a duration of 8-12 weeks offering a cure to around 92-100% of people treated.

J&J unit ends hepatitis C drug development in crowded market
(Reuters) - Janssen Sciences Ireland UC, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, said it would discontinue further development of its hepatitis C research, citing increased availability of a number of effective hepatitis C therapies.

Janssen said it would not continue the development of the investigational hepatitis C treatment regimen JNJ-4178, a combination of three direct acting antivirals.

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