The antiviral is now going into phase 2 clinical studies for both the prevention and treatment of dengue


Janssen reports positive pre-clinical data for dengue antiviral JNJ-1802. (Credit: Vysotsky from Wikimedia Commons)

Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) has published new data for JNJ-1802, which reveals that the early-stage clinical candidate showed strong protection in non-human primates and mice against dengue.

In a phase 1 first-in-human clinical study, the antiviral was found to be safe and well tolerated. The antiviral is now going into phase 2 clinical studies for both the prevention and treatment of dengue.

According to the new data, JNJ-1802 is highly protective against the two serotypes DENV-1 and -2 that have been studied in non-human primates. It was also found to be effective against all four dengue serotypes in mouse models.

Janssen said that the findings follow the research published in 2021 in the Nature journal that detected the novel mechanism of action from the same chemical series as the JNJ-1802 antiviral.

The mechanism of action stops the interaction between the NS3 and NS4B viral proteins, thereby preventing the virus from replicating.

With the help of the new data, JNJ-1802’s mechanism of action was proven to be identical, the pharmaceutical firm claimed.

Along with phase 1 first-in-human findings that showed the drug’s safety and tolerability, the new study supports JNJ-1802’s continued clinical development for the prevention and treatment of dengue.

Janssen Research & Development global public health R&D global head Ruxandra Draghia-Akli said: “The unprecedented rise in dengue outbreaks throughout the past years offers a glimpse of what lies ahead as climate change continues to put more people and communities at risk of dengue.

“We know an antiviral will be critical to addressing the unmet needs today and tomorrow, and we are committed to developing our breakthrough compound to expand the toolset available to prevent and treat dengue.”

Along with the development of JNJ-1802, Johnson & Johnson is aiming to boost dengue research and development (R&D) by utilising unique R&D methodologies and emerging technologies.