Johnson & Johnson has announced that it is acquiring privately-held, clinical-stage biopharma Novira Therapeutics, but has kept financial details of the deal firmly under wraps.

The move gives the healthcare giant access to Novira’s portfolio of novel antivirals for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, which affects 350 million - 400 million people worldwide, including lead candidate NVR 3-778.

NVR 3-778 is a small molecule, direct acting antiviral, that inhibits the HBV core, a new and promising drug target involved in multiple activities required for viral replication and persistence. 

The orally-administered drug “offers the potential for efficient suppression of virus production and replication, which could help address the remaining unmet medical needs,” says J&J.

The transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2015.