Isis, Janssen Biotech strike antisense collaboration

The companies will collaborate to discover and develop antisense drugs to treat GI autoimmune disorders

Kelsey Kaustinen
CARLSBAD, Calif.—Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Janssen Biotech Inc., one of the Johnson & Johnson companies, have begun a global collaboration for the discovery and development of antisense drugs for the treatment of autoimmune disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. While Isis brings its RNA-targeted technology platform to the collaboration, Janssen brings its expertise in autoimmune disorders and therapeutic formulation. The companies are seeking antisense drugs suitable for local administration, including oral delivery.
 
Per the terms of the deal, which consists of three programs, Janssen will pay Isis $35 million in upfront payments, including a payment to initiate human lead optimization on the first collaboration target. Isis also stands to receive close to $800 million in development, regulatory and sales milestone payments and license fees for the programs. Isis is also eligible to receive tiered royalties that, on average, will fall in the double-digits on sales from any product successfully commercialized from this collaboration. For its part, Janssen will have the option of licensing a drug from each of the programs once a development candidate is identified. Should it choose to exercise that option, Janssen will assume global development, regulatory and commercialization responsibilities.
 
"We are excited to be working with Janssen to apply our drug discovery and development efforts in this therapeutic area. This collaboration broadens the utility of our drug discovery technology to new targets in the GI tract and expands the administration of antisense drugs to local delivery, including oral delivery, to the gut," B. Lynne Parshall, chief operating officer at Isis Pharmaceuticals, commented in a press release. "We are the leader in RNA-targeted therapeutics, and our innovation and the successes of our pipeline drugs enable us to form collaborations, like this one, with leaders in specific therapeutic areas. This partnering strategy ensures that we have access to resources that support and enhance our drug discovery efforts and also provides us with collaborators, like Janssen, who are uniquely capable of conducting development, marketing and commercial efforts for these drugs."
 
This announcement comes two months after Isis shared news of another antisense deal. In mid-November, Isis and AstraZeneca struck a strategic alliance to discover and develop novel delivery methods for antisense oligonucleotides, specifically delivery approaches that offer more effective targeting. The agreement builds on an existing collaboration between the two companies, and the initial project areas for the strategic alliance will be oncology and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Isis and AstraZeneca agreed to fund their own contributions and commit investigators to the collaboration, and will work together on an agreed-upon program and share the rights to the results.
 
 
SOURCE: Isis Pharmaceuticals press release

Kelsey Kaustinen

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