Published On: Sun, Dec 8th, 2019

Janssen to acquire skin disease drug candidate bermekimab from XBiotech

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Janssen Biotech acquisition of bermekimab: Janssen Biotech, a Janssen Pharmaceutical Company of Johnson & Johnson, has agreed to acquire all rights to bermekimab, an investigational compound for certain skin disorders, from XBiotech, in a deal worth up to $1.35 billion, as per the latest pharma acquisition news.

Bermekimab, which is an anti-IL-1alpha monoclonal antibody (mAb), is going through a phase 2 development for the treatment of two skin diseasesatopic dermatitis and hidradenitis suppurativa.

The human antibody is said to be the only antibody targeting IL-1a, which is currently in clinical development, and having the potential for superior efficacy and safety compared to the present standard of care.

According to XBiotech, bermekimab has been designed to neutralize interleukin-1 alpha (IL-1⍺), which is known to promote disease-causing inflammation in a broad range of medical conditions.

Commenting on Janssen Biotech acquisition of bermekimab, David M. Lee – Immunology Therapeutic Area Head at Janssen Research & Development said: “Janssen is a world leader in immunology, and we are particularly proud of our long legacy of helping with dermatological disease, including psoriasis.

“The acquisition of bermekimab allows us to build on our expertise in immuno-dermatology, while expanding to and hidradenitis suppurativa, immune-mediated disease areas that have incredible unmet need.”

As per the terms of Janssen Biotech acquisition of bermekimab, the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary will take over responsibility for the investigational drug’s clinical program, while closely working with XBiotech as it wraps up the ongoing Phase 2 studies in atopic dermatitis and hidradenitis suppurativa.

Janssen will pay a purchase price of $750 million to XBiotech. If Janssen pursues bermekimab for the treatment of indications outside of dermatology, XBiotech stands to get additional payments, worth up to $6o0 million subject to receipt of certain commercialization authorizations.

XBiotech, which is a Texas-based biopharma company, intends to use a part of the proceeds from the deal to fund discovery and development of its next-generation True Human anti-IL-1⍺ antibody program. In addition to that, a part of the revenue will be allocated to advance other antibody therapeutics in its pipeline.

John Simard – XBiotech President and CEO, commenting on Janssen Biotech acquisition of bermekimab, said: “We are proud that Janssen has chosen bermekimab as an agent it believes could have an important impact. We believe their acquisition will enable recognition and increase awareness of the full potential of this first-in-class therapeutic.

“This transaction also provides us the opportunity to showcase our powerful True Human antibody discovery platform, which we are now utilizing to pursue next generation anti-Il-1⍺ antibody therapeutics to treat multiple areas of unmet need outside of dermatology.”

Janssen Biotech acquisition of bermekimab is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary closing conditions and is likely to close soon after HSR approval.

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