An acquisition with some heart

Janssen-Cilag acquires CorImmun, gains heart failure drug

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NEUSS, Germany—Janssen-Cilag GmbH has announced thecompletion of its acquisition of privately held CorImmun GmbH, a drugdevelopment company based in Germany. No financial details were disclosed,other than that the purchase was made for an undisclosed upfront payment aswell as a contingent future clinical milestone payment. 
CorImmun was founded in 2006, a spinoff from the Universityof Würzburg and University of Tübingen. Located in Martinsried near Munich, thecompany focuses primarily on therapeutics and diagnostics for heart andvascular diseases, and works with all steps of the process from research tocommercialization. The company's lead compound, COR-1, is a small cyclicpeptide, currently in the early stages of development for the treatment ofchronic congestive heart failure. In preclinical studies, the compound has beenshown to improve heart function by decreasing autoimmune, beta 1receptor-simulating antibody effects. CorImmun initiated a clinical Phase IItrial of the compound in September of last year.
Per the terms of the acquisition agreement, Janssen and itsaffiliates will take over full development and global commercializationresponsibilities for COR-1 immediately. No details were released as to thecompany's plans for CorImmun's facilities or employees following theacquisition, and as of press time, Janssen did not respond to inquiries foradditional information.
"The prevalence of heart failure is rising rapidly, andCOR-1 is an early-stage development compound with a novel mechanism fortreating heart failure that has the potential to improve heart function bysuppressing antibodies that can exacerbate this condition," Dr. Peter M.DiBattiste, global therapeutic area head for cardiovascular disease andmetabolism at Janssen Research & Development, said in a press releaseregarding the deal. "This acquisition demonstrates Janssen's commitment toinvesting in innovative science in an area of great unmet medical need, wherenew therapies can improve the quality of patient care."
Heart failure is a progressive disease that is characterizedby the inability of the heart muscle to adequately pump enough oxygenated bloodthroughout the body, and it is estimated that approximately 23 million peopleworldwide have been diagnosed with the disease, a figure that is only expectedto rise. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the U.S.National Institutes of Health, roughly 5 million people in the United Stateshave heart failure. A 2010 report from the American Heart AssociationStatistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee noted that about670,000 people are diagnosed with heart failure each year, and approximatelyone in five people with heart failure die within one year of diagnosis. Thereis no cure for most causes of heart failure, and the leading causes consist ofdiabetes, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. The Centers forDisease Control and Prevention rank heart disease as the leading cause of deathannually in the United States.
Another acquisition was completed just two weeks prior byJanssen's parent company, Johnson & Johnson. The pharmaceutical giantannounced the completion of its acquisition of Synthes Inc. for $19.7 billionin cash and stock. As a result of the transaction, Synthes will be integratedinto the DePuy franchise, leading to the establishment of the DePuy SynthesCompanies of Johnson & Johnson. In a July 17 release of Johnson &Johnson's second quarter 2012 results, the company noted that its net earningsincluded after-tax special items of $2.2 billion, which included "transactionand integration costs related to the acquisition of Synthes."

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