Vertex, Janssen enter influenza treatment licensing agreement

Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc., announced a licensing agreement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., on Wednesday to develop and commercialize the VX-787 influenza vaccine.

VX-787 is an investigational treatment designed to inhibit replication of influenza A. The medicine represents a new class of treatment distinct from neuraminidase inhibitors, the current standard for influenza treatment.

Vertex will receive an upfront payment of $30 million as part of the agreement, as well as the potential for additional development, commercial milestone payments and royalties from future sales.

"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," Jeffrey Leiden, the CEO of Vertex, said. "This collaboration provides important support for the continued development of VX-787 in influenza and contributes to our financial strength to enable continued investment in our key development programs for cystic fibrosis and in research aimed at discovering new medicines."

Vertex completed a Phase 2a study of VX-787 in 2013. The trial showed significant reductions of influenza-like symptoms in patients treated with VX-787, with no adverse affects that required a discontinuation of that treatment.

Vertex was founded in 1989 in Cambridge, Mass., and currently has offices in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia.