Deals, Drug Development

J&J does Alzheimer’s gene therapy deal, along with 14 other new collaborations

Johnson & Johnson has inked a research deal with University of Pennsylvania to work on gene therapy for Alzheimer’s. The partnership leverages the university’s adeno-associated viruses and J&J’s anti-Alzheimer’s antibodies in hopes to penetrate the blood brain barrier.

The partnership involves the pharma giant’s innovation-focused arm Johnson & Johnson Innovation and Janssen Pharmaceuticals. J&J hopes to use the university’s AAV viral delivery to trigger the expression of therapeutic antibodies to the brain – an effort that would change the status quo. Currently, the blood brain barrier limits the use of antibodies to treat brain diseases.

Janssen will have exclusive global rights to commercialize products under this new agreement.

Paul Stoffels, J&J

The new research deal was one of 15 new collaborations J&J announced as part of their regular operational updates. Johnson & Johnson Innovation is no stranger to deals like this, as it’s penned more than 350 such partnerships since its inception in 2012.

“By advancing transformative healthcare innovations together with entrepreneurs, academic centers and institutions, we are one step closer to addressing many pressing global healthcare challenges,” said Paul Stoffels, executive vice president and CSO of Johnson & Johnson, in a statement.

Here’s a summary of other notable therapeutic research deals announced involving various J&J arms:

→ A multi-year research collaboration with Beacon Discovery, a G-Protein Coupled Receptor (GCPR) drug discovery incubator launched by Belviq-maker Arena Pharmaceuticals in 2016. The collaboration will be to discover and develop next-generation therapeutics to treat obesity and other metabolic diseases.

→ A collaboration with a Boston microbiome therapeutics company Holobiome Corporation to treat diseases of the central and enteric nervous systems. The collaboration will examine a consortium of bacteria that could be used to create a differentiated probiotic or over-the-counter offering that addresses sleeplessness.

→ A collaboration with San Diego’s Dermala to develop microbiome-derived treatments for skin conditions. Dermala’s technology harnesses the beneficial function of good skin bacteria to eliminate the bad bacteria and balance the microbiome.

→ A collaboration with Monash University aimed at further exploring the underlying triggers of psoriasis to discover and develop potential new treatments that prevent future occurrences of the disease.

→ A collaboration with the Taiwan Industrial Technology Research Institute to set up co-funding agreements for projects in lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, eye health and digital health initiatives.


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