Johnson & Johnson Announces Agreement To Acquire Novira Therapeutics, Inc.

Complements and Strengthens Existing Pipeline to Combat Hepatitis B Virus

Nov 04, 2015, 12:01 ET from Johnson & Johnson

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., Nov. 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) today announced a definitive agreement to acquire Novira Therapeutics, Inc., a privately held, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapies for curative treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.  The acquisition includes Novira's portfolio of novel antivirals, including its lead candidate, NVR 3-778.  Financial terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

NVR 3-778 is a small molecule, direct acting antiviral, for oral administration in patients with HBV that inhibits the HBV core or capsid protein. HBV core is a novel and promising drug target since it is involved in multiple activities required for viral replication and persistence.

"We are excited about the prospect this acquisition offers to accelerate the development of curative treatments for people affected by chronic hepatitis B," said William N. Hait, M.D., Ph.D., Global Head, Research & Development, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. "NVR 3-778 offers the potential for efficient suppression of virus production and replication, which could help address the remaining unmet medical needs."

The closing is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary closing conditions. The transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2015.

"Chronic hepatitis B is a potentially fatal liver disease with approximately 60 percent of hepatocellular carcinoma attributed to infection with the hepatitis B virus," said Lawrence Blatt, PhD Global Head, Infectious Diseases and Vaccines, Janssen and Chief Executive Officer, Alios Biopharma, part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies. "With more than 350 million people affected worldwide we seek to overcome treatment challenges, such as the requirement for people to endure lifelong therapy, through scientific innovation.  Combining Novira's recent breakthroughs with our vast experience in viral diseases we endeavor to deliver novel medicines for patients suffering from this insidious disease." 

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About Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson

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This press release contains "forward-looking statements" as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 regarding the acquisition of Novira Therapeutics, Inc.., and development of NVR 3-778. The reader is cautioned not to rely on these forward-looking statements. These statements are based on current expectations of future events. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or known or unknown risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results could vary materially from the expectations and projections of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies and Johnson & Johnson. Risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: the satisfaction of closing conditions for the acquisition, including clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and certain customary closing conditions; the possibility that the transaction will not be completed or, if completed, not completed in the expected timeframe; the potential that the expected benefits and opportunities may not be realized or may take longer to realize than expected; challenges inherent in new product development, including the uncertainty of clinical success and obtaining regulatory approvals; competition, including technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges to patents; changes in behavior and spending patterns or financial distress of purchasers of health care products and services; changes to regulations and domestic and foreign health care reforms; and general industry conditions, including trends toward health care cost containment. In addition, if and when the transaction is consummated, there will be risks and uncertainties related to the ability of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies to successfully integrate the operations and clinical work of Novira Therapeutics. A further list and description of these risks, uncertainties and other factors can be found in Johnson & Johnson's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 28, 2014, including in Exhibit 99 thereto, and the company's subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Copies of these filings are available online at or on request from Johnson & Johnson. The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies and Johnson & Johnson do not undertake to update any forward-looking statement as a result of new information or future events or developments.

SOURCE Johnson & Johnson