Janssen Pharmaceuticals enters alliance with CureBeta that could top $300 million in value

License deal gives Janssen access to a portfolio of small molecules and biologics designed to trigger the regeneration of insulin-producing beta cells

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HAMBURG, Germany—Evotec AG this week announcedthat it has licensed to Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. a portfolio of smallmolecules and biologics designed to trigger the regeneration ofinsulin-producing beta cells.
The deal includes an upfront payment of $8 million,but with the achievement of certain preclinical, clinical, regulatory andcommercial goals, Janssen could make future milestone payments totaling as muchas $200 million to $300 million per product. In addition, Janssen will payroyalties on future sales of any products that result from this collaboration.The upfront, milestone and royalty payments will be shared by Evotec andHarvard University according to pre-agreed terms. Evotec will receiveadditional research support for discovery and early development work that willbe conducted in collaboration with Janssen.
Where Harvard comes into play in all of this is thatthe candidates designed to trigger the regeneration of insulin-producing betacells—both small molecules and biologics—were identified by scientists in theHarvard University laboratory of Prof. Douglas Melton, and further analyzed incollaboration with scientists from Evotec, as part of the CureBeta research anddevelopment program established by Harvard, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute(HHMI), and Evotec in 2011 to leverage the assets and expertise in industry andacademia to identify and develop disease-state modifying therapeutic targets.
To help achieve the CureBeta goals, Evotec's Dr.Cord Dohrmann and Melton—an HHMI investigator—both ofwhom are recognized leaders in the field of beta cell research, began aninternational collaboration. During the initial period of the collaboration,Evotec, HHMI, and Harvard established new standards in beta cell regeneration withregard to assays and tools as well as novel targets deemed to have highpotential.
"Our collaboration with Doug Melton's laboratoryhas been extremely successful on multiple levels. We have not only achieved ourscientific goals of creating a superior beta cell drug discovery platform and generatinga deep pipeline of novel and exciting targets, but we have also established anew model of collaboration between academia and industry that has proven highlyefficient and effective in accelerating innovative scientific development,"said Dohrmann, who is chief scientific officer of Evotec. "Janssen Pharmaceuticalsperfectly complements this effort, bringing in world-leading pharmaceuticaldevelopment expertise as well as the necessary resources to execute on ourmission to produce first-in-class therapeutics designed to restore beta cellmass and function."
According to the parties involved, what JanssenPharmaceuticals will bring to the CureBeta mix is the ability to "provideindustrial scope and scale as well as pharmaceutical development expertise andmarketing capabilities."
"Our collaboration with Evotec supports ourmission of accelerating scientific research from the lab to the clinic," saidIsaac T. Kohlberg, Harvard's chief technology development officer and head ofits Office of Technology Development. "As the funding and licensing landscapehas evolved in the pharmaceutical industry, we have evolved to identify newdevelopment strategies for our research assets. This alliance with JanssenPharmaceuticals represents an important step towards a real solution for the treatmentof diabetes."

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