Johnson and Johnson HQ

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) has completed the acquisition of Novira Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical firm focused on developing new therapies for curative treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.

The companies have not disclosed the financial terms of the transaction, which was originally announced in November.

Novira is now part of the Infectious Diseases & Vaccines Therapeutic Area of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of JNJ.

The acquisition includes Novira’s portfolio of new antivirals, including its lead candidate, NVR 3-778, an investigational small molecule, direct-acting antiviral.

NVR 3-778 is currently in Phase Ib clinical trials and is indicated for oral administration in patients with HBV that inhibits the HBV core or capsid protein involved in multiple activities required for the virus to replicate and persist.

"We will leverage our vast experience in viral diseases to develop potentially transformational medicines for HBV patients."

Janssen Research & Development global head William Hait said: "We are exploring several approaches in pursuit of a functional cure for this insidious disease.

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"Bringing together NVR 3-778 with our own internal discoveries we will leverage our vast experience in viral diseases to develop potentially transformational medicines for HBV patients."

Across the world, HBV affects more than 350 million people and is a potentially fatal liver disease with around 60% of hepatocellular carcinoma cases being attributed to infection with the hepatitis B virus.

Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies is focused on addressing some of the most important unmet medical needs in oncology, immunology, neuroscience, infectious diseases and vaccines, and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

Image: Johnson & Johnson Headquarters in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Photo: courtesy of Nikopoley.