New Flu Rx on the Horizon

Experimental Janssen flu medication JNJ-872 could have longer treatment window than current antivirals

(RxWiki News) Newfound support may give an experimental flu medication the boost it needs to become available for use.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Monday that it would support the development of this new medication, called JNJ-872, with up to $131 million over the next four years and three months. The drug is not yet approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The HHS said in a press release that this drug could represent the first in a "new class of influenza antivirals." Current flu medications are often most effective if patients receive them within two days of becoming sick. But there's already evidence that JNJ-872, from Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., could be effective much later than that.

“Typically patients are not hospitalized within 48 hours of developing flu symptoms, so doctors and their patients need treatment options that are effective later in the course of illness,” explained Robin Robinson, PhD, director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, in a press release. “This is a critical health priority as tens of thousands of flu patients are hospitalized each year in the United States and that number can be even higher in a pandemic.”

Another point that would set JNJ-872 apart from other antiviral flu treatments is its mechanism of action, or way it works in the body. According to the HHS, having flu drugs that work in different ways could help combat strains of the flu that grow resistant to common treatments.

The flu is a viral illness that leads to symptoms like a high fever, body aches, chills, nausea, vomiting and dizziness. Sneezing, rhinitis and a dry cough may also be present. While most patients recover within several days to a week, the flu can be deadly for some patients. JNJ-872 is being developed to treat patients who have been hospitalized due to the flu.

The HHS did not announce a timeline for the development of JNJ-872.

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Review Date: 
September 28, 2015