Gilead Sciences and GlaxoSmithKline have announced a licensing agreement to commercialise Viread to treat chronic hepatitis B (HBV) infection in adults in five Asian countries.

Under the agreement, Gilead will retain exclusive rights for the commercialisation of Viread in Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan while GSK will adopt exclusive commercialisation rights and registration responsibilities for Viread in China.

The companies also announced that they would be working to expand this agreement to include Japan and other countries.

Gilead chairman and CEO John C Martin said that chronic hepatitis B infection was a significant global health problem and the need for new effective treatment options is particularly urgent in Asia.

“Through this agreement, Gilead is proud to ensure broader access to Viread for chronic hepatitis B in some of the world’s highest prevalence regions,” he said.

Viread is currently approved to treat chronic hepatitis B in the US, the EU, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.