Janssen Stops Development on Hepatitis C Drug

A bloated hepatitis C drug marketplace causes manufacturer to focus on hepatitis B.

Janssen Sciences Ireland UC is discontinuing further development of its investigational hepatitis C virus (HCV) combination therapy JNJ-4178, due to an already bloated HCV marketplace, according to Reuters.

The manufacturer stated it would complete its ongoing phase 2 studies of JNJ-4178, but there will be no additional development thereafter, according to Reuters.

Janssen will instead focus its research and development efforts on a cure for chronic hepatitis B virus.

“Going forward, our hepatitis R&D efforts will focus on chronic hepatitis B, where a high unmet medical need still exists,” Lawrence Blatt, head of infectious disease at Janssen, told Endpoints News. “Our scientists are energized by this challenge and our research ambition is to achieve a functional cure of hepatitis B which affects over a quarter of a billion people globally.

“At Janssen, we focus our research and development on areas of greatest unmet medical need where we can combine our excellent internal science with the best available external innovation to bring optimized solutions and maximum benefit to patients.”

A few years ago, Janssen co-developed the first-in-class protease inhibitor telaprevir used in combination therapy to treat chronic HCV. The second-generation protease inhibitor Olysio was launched later and is approved in several countries, according to Reuters.