BERKELEY, Calif.—Cancer immunotherapy company Aduro BioTech Inc. has announced a license agreement with Janssen Biotech Inc., part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. The agreement was facilitated by the Johnson & Johnson California Innovation Center and grants Janssen Biotech an exclusive, worldwide license to certain product candidates developed for the treatment of lung and select other cancers based on Aduro's novel LADD immunotherapy platform. Aduro's proprietary LADD platform consists of live-attenuated double-deleted Listeria monocytogenes strains that are engineered to induce a potent, innate immune response. These strains also express tumor-associated antigens to generate tumor-specific T cell-mediated immunity.
Per the terms of the agreement, Janssen will pay Aduro $30 million up front, and Aduro could earn up to a total of $817 million in milestone payments if all development, regulatory and commercialization milestones are met. Aduro also stands to receive high single-digit to double-digit tiered royalties on worldwide net sales if a product results from the agreement. Janssen, which will hold exclusive rights for the development and commercialization of LADD product candidates in lung cancer, will be responsible for all research, development, manufacturing, regulatory and commercialization activities for the licensed products. Should Aduro choose to provide assistance in any of those areas, it will receive additional fees for support activity.
The agreement is subject to clearance by U.S. antitrust authorities under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act.
“Since our initial agreement with Janssen in May of this year for new immunotherapies for prostate cancer, they have been terrific partners, and we’ve established a strong collaboration focused on advancing our technologies forward in their licensed indications,” Stephen T. Isaacs, chairman, president and CEO of Aduro, commented in a press release. “We believe our LADD technology also offers tremendous promise as a potential treatment for lung cancer and we are pleased to expand our relationship with Janssen, a company with significant experience and resources focused in both lung and prostate cancer. Separately, Aduro continues to make progress with our broad array of immunotherapy platforms in a number of other oncology indications, including pancreatic cancer, mesothelioma and glioblastoma, among others.”
This is Aduro's second agreement with Janssen, with the first announced this May. The initial agreement, which was also facilitated by the Johnson & Johnson California Innovation Center, provided Jansse with an exclusive, worldwide license to select product candidates engineered from Aduro's LADD platform for the treatment of prostate cancer. Per the agreement, Aduro stands to receive up to $365 million in upfront license fees and milestone payments if agreed-upon development, regulatory and commercialization goals are met, assuming multiple programs advance to commercialization. The company is also eligible for tiered royalties on worldwide net sales. As in the second agreement, Janssen will be responsible for all research, development, manufacturing, regulatory and commercialization activities for the licensed products.
At that time, Aduro also granted Janssen exclusive rights, under a separate agreement, to its GVAX technology for prostate cancer. GVAX is a set of vaccines derived from human cancer cells lines genetically modified to secrete granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, an immune-stimulatory cytokine. Aduro has GVAX vaccines for pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer and multiple myeloma, in addition to prostate cancer.
SOURCE: Aduro press release