UPDATED: J&J ends hepatitis B and HPV portions of Bavarian Nordic collab
Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen ended its collaboration and licensing agreements with Bavarian Nordic concerning vaccines for hepatitis B virus and human papillomaviruses.
J&J and the Danish vaccines biotech will continue their tie-up as it relates to HIV and Ebola, Janssen said Monday. The duo announced the HPV pact in December 2015 at a total potential value of $171 million, and the hepatitis B and HIV work came via a July 2017 agreement worth up to $879 million.
The Big Pharma cited the “widespread uptake of effective, preventive vaccines” against HPV as reasoning for dropping that portion of the pair’s collab. The company will not continue R&D efforts on HPV, an infectious area largely cornered by Merck’s Gardasil.
Meanwhile, J&J will continue to investigate hepatitis B through its existing pipeline, which includes two Phase II combination therapy studies. The two companies never began a clinical study using Bavarian Nordic’s so-called MVA-BN vaccine tech.
“They were not part of our active pipeline and there was no progress,” a Bavarian Nordic spokesperson, referring to the HPV and hepatitis B projects, told Endpoints News in an emailed statement. “We continue to have a strong collaboration with Janssen via our joint Ebola franchise as well as the early stage HIV project.
The smallpox vaccine maker also has a Phase III study in respiratory syncytial virus, a late-stage Covid-19 vaccine booster and an early-stage open-label trial for various cancers.
This comes weeks after Finch Therapeutics paused its hepatitis B program and laid off workers. Meanwhile, Silverback Therapeutics ended work on its immuno-oncology program to shift its focus toward a preclinical hepatitis B candidate as part of the biotech’s own layoffs weeks ago.