Ascletis, founded by the former head of HIV research at GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK), has signed a licensing deal with Janssen, which is part of Johnson & Johnson, to develop and sell an HIV drug in China.

The company, which launched in 2011 and has dual headquarters in China and the Triangle, is led by Dr. Jinzi Wu.

Wu has already raised some $100 million for the firm and now has three licensing deals for products that would be sold in China.

The latest involves what Ascletis calls a “next-generation HIV protease inhibitor,” which is under development by Janssen.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

“This licensing agreement for TMC310911 adds a third drug candidate in late-stage development to the Ascletis pipeline, which aims to provide innovative therapeutics for important medical needs in China,” Wu said. “Based on research to date, we believe that TMC310911 has the potential to offer a new standard-of-care, especially for HIV-infected patients exhibiting multi-drug resistance to current PIs.”

Janssen has completed three clinical trials on the drug. 

In an interview with FierceBioTech, Wu said he wanted to improve HIV treatment in China and also make it more affordable. 

“Right now, HIV treatment in China is really behind the U.S. for a number of reasons,” Wu told the website.


Ascletis also has licensed a drug from Roche to treat hepatitis C and a treatment based on RNA from Alnylam targeting liver cancer.