Citing a crowded market of innovative meds, Janssen has canned work on its hep C cocktail program with partners Medivir and Achillion. The pair were working on the hepatitis C treatment regimen known as JNJ-4178, a combo of three direct acting antivirals: AL-335, Achillion’s odalasvir and the Janssen-Medivir med Olysio (simeprevir).

The Big Pharma said that the ongoing phase 2 tests with JNJ-4178 will be completed as planned, “but there will be no additional development thereafter.”

Why? The same reason others have dropped out of the development and sales race: There are too many good treatments and increasingly, those without the need for injection, which has seen domination from Gilead’s curative meds Sovaldi and Harvoni.

These meds, as well as others from Big Pharmas, can effectively cure the vast majority of patients with hep C in a few months; Gilead itself has been a victim of its own success, seeing tens of billions of dollars for its therapies after launch, but this started to quickly dwindle after patients no longer needed them.

As Janssen put it: “This decision was made in light of the increasing availability of a number of highly effective therapies addressing the medical need in hepatitis C.”

Janssen’s future R&D focus on anti-virals will center around hepatitis B, it said, as it looks for a potential cure to a disease that affects around 250 million people worldwide.

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