Johnson & Johnson (J&J) is tapping into Sanford-Burnham for the discovery of compounds for Alzheimer disease and major psychiatric disorders. J&J, through its Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals division, gains exclusive access for a three-year term to a multidisciplinary team of scientists and Sanford-Burnham’s translational infrastructure.
Sanford-Burnham will receive an up-front payment, yearly access fees, funding for discovery research, milestone payments, and royalties for successfully developed products. “Although we cannot disclose the financial terms of the agreement, I can tell you we believe the deal is bigger deal than the one recently announced by UCSF and Pfizer,” says Megan Lavine, a spokesperson for Sanford-Burnham.
In November 2010, Pfizer set up the Global Centers for Therapeutic Innovation, which is to serve as a network of academic partnerships for drug R&D. The University of California, San Francisco was noted as the first participant, and The Wall Street Journal reported that Pfizer would pay up to $85 million over five years for access to UCSF discoveries.
The J&J/Sanford-Burnham and Pfizer/UCSF deals are just two examples of pharmaceutical companies looking toward academic centers to feed their research pipelines. Sanford-Burnham’s first deal came in December 2010 when Takeda Pharmaceutical formed an alliance to discover and evaluate new therapeutic approaches to obesity. The two-year partnership aims to identify and validate obesity-related biomarkers and new peripheral molecular targets of mutual interest.