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Tibotec Starts Global Phase 3 Clinical Trials Studying TMC435 in Adults With Chronic Genotype 1 HCV
Date:2/18/2011

CORK, Ireland, Feb. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Tibotec Pharmaceuticals announced today that two global, registrational phase 3 trials are recruiting patients to examine TMC435, its investigational hepatitis C protease inhibitor, in treatment-naive adults with chronic genotype 1 hepatitis C virus (HCV). A third global phase 3 trial is being conducted in genotype 1 HCV patients who have experienced a viral relapse after prior interferon-based treatment. Approximately 3.2 million people in the U.S. live with chronic hepatitis C disease and more than 170 million people have the disease globally. The response-guided trials will compare the efficacy, safety and tolerability of TMC435 given as a single 150 mg oral tablet once daily for 12 weeks versus placebo; each patient also will be treated with a background regimen of peginterferon and ribavirin for 24 or 48 weeks.

"TMC435 is an important component of our growing HCV pipeline," said Brian Woodfall M.D., Vice President of Global Clinical Development at Tibotec. "The initiation of the TMC435 phase 3 clinical trial program reinforces our commitment to develop innovative new treatment options that may decrease the duration of treatment for patients with chronic hepatitis C infection."

The first global, phase 3, double-blind, randomized study, known as TMC435-C208 or QUEST-1 (QD dosing of TMC435 of previoUsly untreated GEnotype 1 patienTs-1), will evaluate a single TMC435 once-daily oral tablet (150 mg) versus placebo in treatment-naive HCV patients. Both groups will also receive peginterferon alfa-2a (Pegasys®) and ribavirin (Copegus®) as part of their treatment. The second global, phase 3, double-blind, randomized study, known as TMC435-C216 or QUEST-2 (QD dosing of TMC435 of previoUsly untreated GEnotype 1 patienTs-2), also will evaluate a single TMC435 once-daily oral tablet (150 mg) versus placebo in treatment-naive HCV patients. However, patients in this trial will either receive peginterferon alfa-2a (Pegasys®) and ribavirin (Copegus®) or peginterferon alfa-2b (PegIntron®) and ribavirin (Rebetol®) as part of their treatment. A third global, phase 3, double-blind randomized study, known as TMC435-C3007 or PROMISE (PROtease inhibitor TMC435 In PatientS who have previously rElapsed on IFN/RBV), will evaluate a single TMC435 once-daily oral tablet (150 mg) verses placebo in HCV patients who experienced viral relapse after previous interferon-based therapy. Both groups will receive peginterferon alfa-2a (Pegasys®) and ribavirin (Copegus®). The complete treatment duration for all three trials will be 24 or 48 weeks, depending on patient response.

The studies will be conducted at more than 160 sites in 24 countries, including the U.S. and countries throughout Europe, and together seek to enroll approximately 1,125 HCV genotype 1 infected patients who are treatment-naive or have experienced a relapse after previous interferon-based HCV therapy. To be eligible, patients must have chronic hepatitis C infection, and must have had a liver biopsy within three years of the screening visit. For those patients who have not had a liver biopsy in the three years prior to the study, one will be performed before the baseline visit. In addition, eligible patients need to have completed a recent ultrasound with no findings suspicious of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Patients with signs of hepatic decompensation, liver disease of any non-HCV etiology, co-infection with hepatitis B or HIV-1 and 2 or a history of malignancy within 5 years of the screening vitis are ineligible for the study. Patients in QUEST-1 and QUEST-2 trials must not have received any prior treatment for hepatitis C, and patients in the PROMISE trial must have previously received at least 24 weeks of (peg)interferon-based therapy, along with documented negative HCV RNA at last on-treatment measurement, and have relapsed (detectable HCV RNA) within one year of last taking medication. The primary endpoint of the studies is to assess whether TMC435 is superior to placebo in achieving sustained virologic response (SVR), defined as HCV RNA <25 IU/ml undetectable, 24 weeks after the planned end of treatment (SVR 24), with the final analysis being performed after the last patient reaches week 72 of the study. Secondary endpoints include superiority of TMC435 versus placebo at 12 weeks (SVR 12), after planned end of treatment and at week 72 of the study. Evaluations of viral breakthroughs, relapse rates in treatment groups, safety and tolerability also will be assessed.

Phase 3 studies for TMC435 also recently launched in Japan.

For additional information on inclusion and exclusion criteria for these studies, please see www.clinicaltrials.gov or email info@tibbe.jnj.com.

*Pegintron® and Rebetol® are registered trademarks of Schering Corporation, a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc.

*Pegasys® and Copegus® are registered trademarks of Hoffman-La Roche, Inc.

About HCVHCV is a blood-borne infectious disease that affects the liver. With an estimated 170 million people infected worldwide and three to four million people newly infected each year, HCV puts a significant burden on patients and society. Chronic infection with HCV can lead to liver cancer and other serious and fatal liver diseases, and is the most common cause of liver transplant worldwide.  The current standard of care for HCV, pegylated interferon combined with ribavirin, causes serious side effects and only cures 40 to 50 percent of genotype 1 patients. The development of new therapies, particularly direct antivirals with different modes of action, may allow HCV patients to undergo a shorter and more effective treatment regimen.

About Tibotec Pharmaceuticals Tibotec Pharmaceuticals is a global pharmaceutical and research development company. The Company's main research and development facilities are in Beerse, Belgium with offices in Titusville, NJ and Cork, Ireland. Tibotec is dedicated to the discovery and development of innovative HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C drugs, and anti-infectives for diseases of high unmet medical need. Tibotec Pharmaceuticals is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

Forward Looking StatementThis press release contains "forward-looking statements" as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  These statements are based on current expectations of future events.  If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or unknown risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results could vary materially from Tibotec and/or Johnson & Johnson's expectations and projections.  Risks and uncertainties include general industry conditions and competition; economic conditions, such as interest rate and currency exchange rate fluctuations; technological advances and patents attained by competitors; challenges inherent in new product development, including obtaining regulatory approvals; domestic and foreign health care reforms and governmental laws and regulations; and trends toward health care cost containment.  A further list and description of these risks, uncertainties and other factors can be found in Exhibit 99 of Johnson & Johnson's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended January 3, 2010.  Copies of this Form 10-K, as well as subsequent filings, are available online at www.sec.gov, www.jnj.com or on request from Johnson & Johnson.  Neither Tibotec nor Johnson & Johnson undertake to update any forward-looking statements as a result of new information or future events or developments.Contacts: Media

Investor RelationsKaren Manson: Cell + 32 (479) 89 47 99Stan Panasewicz: (732) 524-2524Louise Mehrotra: (732) 524-6491
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