J&J buys Alios BioPharma to gain access to infant medicine by Laura Lorenzetti @FortuneMagazine 11:22 AM EDT E-mail Tweet Facebook Google Plus Linkedin Share icons Johnson & Johnson JNJ has agreed to buy Alios BioPharma for $1.75 billion in an all-cash deal, the company announced Tuesday. The privately-held biopharmaceutical company is focused on developing medicines to fight viral diseases, including a valuable treatment for infants with the respiratory syncytial virus, which causes infections of the lungs and respiratory tract. Commonly referred to as RSV, the virus is the last major pediatric disease with no available vaccine or other preventative, said Dr. William Hait, the global head of research and development for Janssen Pharmaceutical, the drug-development unit of J&J. The drug is currently in Phase 2 studies, which means the treatment has passed initial safety and side effect tests and is now being given to a larger group of patients to prove its effectiveness and safety on a broader scale. Medicines are commonly submitted for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval after a successful Phase 3 study. The RSV drug complements J&J’s current portfolio of treatments, “which aims to prevent and treat this disease, the leading cause of acute lower respiratory infection in children under the age of five,” said Hait. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter this year.