J&J’s Comprehensive Approach To Finding A ‘Functional Cure’ For HBV
Capsid assembly modulation, small-interfering RNA, a TLR7 agonist and a DNA-based vaccine are some of the components of the pharma’s strategy for bringing about significant advancement in hepatitis B therapy.
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The pharma is taking over a pair of Ionis candidates intended to address the underlying cause of HBV, possibly offering a curative therapy. It’s just the second HBV licensing agreement in 2019, after heavier deal flow in recent years.
The pharma is paying $250m up front for worldwide rights to Arrowhead’s Phase I/II RNAi candidate. Arrowhead says letting J&J take the lead on HBV enables it to focus on other pipeline programs it can bring to market itself.
J&J is the latest firm to back away from the hepatitis C field, reflecting the dominant position Gilead has built with its sofosbuvir franchise. In February, Merck lowered sales expectations for its investigational "nuc" MK-3682.