J&J buys experimental hepatitis C drug from GSK

TITUSVILLE, N.J. — A subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson has acquired rights to an experimental drug for hepatitis C from GlaxoSmithKline.

Janssen Pharmaceuticals announced that it had bought, for an undisclosed among, the drug GSK2336805 from GSK. The drug, which belongs to a class known as NS5a replication complex inhibitors, is currently in mid-stage development.

As part of the deal, Janssen acquires all rights to develop and commercialize the drug, including in combination with other drugs. The drug maker will start phase-2 studies to study its use in combinations with its own experimental drugs, TMC435 (simeprevir) and TMC647055. The company said it would test the GSK drug in combinations that did not include interferons, biotech drugs commonly used to treat hepatitis C.

Janssen recently said that data from a phase-2a study in which simeprevir was combined with another drug, sifosbuvir, was accepted as a late-breaking presentation at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, which will take place Nov. 1-5 in Washington.