NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Johnson & Johnson (J&J) announced on September 30 that it would pay $1.75 billion in cash for Alios BioPharma, Inc., a private biotechnology company that is working on treatments for viral diseases.

The Brunswick-based pharma giant is hoping the company it is acquiring will soon be bringing a new drug to the market.

The acquisition includes Alios’ portfolio of potential therapeutics for viral infections including compound AL-8176, an orally-administered treatment for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). The treatment, currently in Phase 2 studies, helps restore health to infants with 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, the head of research and development at Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, a division of Johnson & Johnson.

The mixture Alios is developing “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.”

Although other companies have made a number of billion-dollar deals in recent years to acquire various biotechs, J&J’s purchase of Alios is the company’s first acquisition in many years.

And the acquisition represents the largest purchase of a venture-backed biotechnology company on record.

“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, chief executive of Alios.

“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.”

“Alios BioPharma’s pipeline [of products that are in the works for treating viral diseases ] is closely aligned with our vision to continue to address important unmet medical needs through scientific innovation,” Johan Van Hoof, head of infectious diseases and vaccines at J&J’s Janssen Unit, told the New York Times.

“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.”

Business Reporter at New Brunswick Today |

Dave is an award-winning business reporter who has authored over 200 articles for New Brunswick Today.

Dave is an award-winning business reporter who has authored over 200 articles for New Brunswick Today.