Vertex, Janssen Collaborate on Investigational Flu Medicine

June 20, 2014

Vertex Pharmaceuticals has signed a licensing agreement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals for the worldwide development and commercialization of Vertex’s investigational medicine to treat influenza.

As part of the deal, Vertex will receive an up-front payment of $30 million from Janssen, with the potential to receive additional development payments and royalties on future product sales, Vertex said Friday.

Vertex completed a Phase 2a study of VX-787 in 2013 that showed statistically significant improvements in viral and clinical measurements of influenza infection. VX-787 is designed to directly inhibit replication of the influenza virus.

"With a deep history in developing new medicines for viral infections and diseases, Janssen is well-positioned to advance the global development of VX-787 for the treatment of influenza," said Jeffrey Leiden, the chairman, president and CEO of Vertex.

Each year, up to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu, resulting in more than 200,000 flu-related hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths. Direct medical costs for influenza in adults totaled $8.7 billion, including $4.5 billion for adult hospitalizations resulting from influenza-attributable illness. — Neal Learner

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