J&J Bets Big On Arrowhead’s Early Promise In Hepatitis B
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.
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Partnerships between big pharma and biotech focused on biologic therapies for hepatitis B could reap the benefit of less competition as lone biotechs, such as Aligos, discontinue their candidates.
GSK enters the NASH race with a mid-stage candidate while Arrowhead gets to focus its R&D spending on candidates it may bring to market itself.
At EASL 2020, four partnerships updated RNA-interference or antisense efforts to reduce hep B surface antigen, believed to lead to functional cure of the virus. One analyst sees J&J/Arrowhead as the early leader.