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Johnson & Johnson Announces Agreement
To Acquire Alios BioPharma's HCV Nukes
  Acquisition Strengthens Existing Pipeline in Viral Diseases
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ, SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 - Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) today announced a definitive agreement to acquire Alios BioPharma, Inc., a privately held clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing therapies for viral diseases, for approximately $1.75 billion in cash. The acquisition will include Alios BioPharma's portfolio of potential therapeutics for viral infections including compound AL-8176, an orally administered antiviral therapy currently in Phase 2 studies for the treatment of infants with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).
"We are excited that this acquisition will enable us to explore treatment options for a number of viral infections, including RSV, the last of the major pediatric diseases with no available preventive therapy," said William N. Hait, M.D., Ph.D., Global Head, Research & Development, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. "AL-8176 complements our existing early stage portfolio for RSV which aims to prevent and treat this disease, the leading cause of acute lower respiratory infection in children under the age of five." 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 2014.
"Alios BioPharma's pipeline is closely aligned with our vision to continue to address important unmet medical needs through scientific innovation," said Johan Van Hoof, M.D., Global Head, Infectious Diseases and Vaccines, Janssen. "This acquisition will allow us to combine their innovative compounds with our vast experience in viral diseases to deliver novel medicines and treatment options for patients worldwide."
Recognizing that new treatment will need to have multiple targets to maintain efficacy and shorten treatment duration, Big Pharma is actively hunting for next-generation biotechnology companies with promising hepatitis C candidates that can be combined with their own in-house programs.
In June, Merck ..... paid ..... $3.85 billion to buy Idenix and its early-stage hepatitis C program......sparked a wave of speculation that Achillion could be next.
However, instead of buying Achillion, J&J chose to instead buy Alios, a pre-clinical biotech with two potential nucleotide inhibitors heading toward phase 1 trials.
Achillion speculation could spark again if mid-stage trials produce compelling results. The company is currently studying its ACH-3102, a drug that like ledipasvir targets the NS5A protein, alongside Sovaldi in a bid to reduce treatment time to six or eight weeks. In a small phase 2 pilot study, each of the 12 patients receiving Sovaldi and ACH-3102 together achieved sustained viral response at four weeks following eight weeks of treatment. marketwatch.com
.......will bring J&J a wide pipeline of nucleotide analogs, or nucs, oral treatments that stop viral infections by blocking their ability to reproduce. The biotech's lead candidate is AL-8176, a Phase II treatment for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) that J&J believes can complement its own early work in the field. RSV, which is the leading cause of acute lower respiratory infection in children under 5, is the last major pediatric disease with no preventive treatment, the company said.
But Alios' most valuable assets may the two early-stage nucs it has in development for hepatitis C. Earlier this month, the biotech touted the preclinical profile of its lead hep C candidate, AL-335, announcing plans to roll it into Phase I in the fourth quarter of this year. Alios' second hep C prospect, AL-516, is on schedule to begin human trials in 2015, the company said.
For J&J, owner of an FDA-approved hep C drug in Olysio (simeprevir), those treatments could be of particular use. Olysio is a NS3/4A protease inhibitor often prescribed in tandem with Sovaldi, Gilead Sciences' ($GILD) blockbuster nuc. If Alios' early-stage candidates come to fruition, J&J could be sitting on a fixed-dose hep C cure of its own, elbowing its way into the race to cash in on all-in-one treatments for the virus that cut out the need for unpleasant doses of interferon and ribavirin......fiercebiotech.com
Alios BioPharma Announces Acquisition Agreement with Johnson & Johnson
Agreement Provides Opportunity to Accelerate Development of Antiviral Portfolio and Expand Alios Infectious Disease Drug Discovery Platform South San Francisco, CA - September 30, 2014 - Alios BioPharma, Inc., a biotechnology company developing proprietary therapeutics for viral diseases, today announced a definitive agreement with Johnson & Johnson whereby Alios will be acquired for approximately $1.75 billion in cash payable upon closing of the transaction. The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies.
"We are so pleased to be joining the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, who have an impressive track record of bringing breakthrough drugs for viral diseases to market," said Lawrence M. Blatt, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Alios BioPharma. "Our portfolio of novel medications targets a diverse range of viral infections, including respiratory syncytial virus, which complements ongoing efforts by Janssen to develop innovative treatments for important and life-threatening infections."
Under the terms of the definitive agreement, the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions including clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Goldman, Sachs & Co. acted as exclusive financial advisor to Alios BioPharma in this transaction and Latham & Watkins LLP as its legal advisor.
About Alios BioPharma
Alios BioPharma is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company in South San Francisco, CA that is developing novel therapies for the treatment of viral diseases. The Alios discovery and development platform consists of a proprietary chemical library of nucleoside analogs as well as novel, proprietary virology-based screening systems. Alios is developing a portfolio of potential therapeutics for viral infections including those caused by respiratory syncytial virus, influenza, rhinovirus, coronavirus and HCV. For more information please visit www.aliosbiopharma.com.

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