Johnson & Johnson group Janssen Pharmaceuticals has shelled out $30 million upfront for global rights to Vertex' experimental influenza drug VX-787.

Under the deal, Janssen has acquired full development and commercialisation rights to the drug in return for the upfront fee plus undisclosed milestone payments and royalties on future product sales.

VX-787 is designed to directly inhibit replication of the influenza A virus, including recent H1 (pandemic) and H5 (avian) influenza strains. 

A Phase IIa trial wrapped up by Vertex reportedly showed statistically significant improvements in viral and clinical measurements of infection, and that the drug was well-tollerated, with no discontinuations due to side effects.

The deal remains subject to the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.