Johnson & Johnson has acquired the rights to develop a new Crohn’s disease medication.
Johnson & Johnson has landed rights to Protagonist Therapeutics’ preclinical Crohn’s disease asset PTG-200. The deal gives J&J a stake in an oral interleukin-23 (IL-23) receptor antagonist in return for $50 million upfront and up to $940 million in milestones.
PTG-200, like other candidates developed by Protagonist, is an oral therapy, a delivery method that sets it apart from other Crohn’s drugs. J&J first expressed an interest in the technology by investing in the biotech. Having tracked the oral peptide specialist’s progress, J&J has now swooped to add the candidate to its pipeline.
The asset is due to enter the clinic this year. Protagonist will run and fund the trial with J&J taking over—and covering 80% of the costs—once it advances to phase 2. Beyond this, a series of major paydays await Protagonist. J&J will pay Protagonist $125 million if it moves the drug into phase 2b and a further $200 million if it sticks with the asset after getting a look at data from the trial. The rest of the cash is tied to regulatory and sales milestones.
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