Johnson and Johnson (J&J) is paying €301.8 million (roughly $442.35 million) for an 18% equity stake in Crucell as part of a collaboration related to mAbs and vaccines against influenza and other diseases. The deal, under which Crucell will work with J&J’s Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, also includes development milestones and royalty payments.
Ortho-McNeil will have commercialization rights to resulting products worldwide except the EU and certain other European countries where Crucell will hold commercialization rights. The partnership will focus initially on a universal mAb product called flu-mAb for preventing and treating flu. Additional projects will encompass a universal influenza vaccine and mAbs and/or vaccines against up to three other infectious and noninfectious disease targets.
The joint flu-mAB program aims to develop a universal product against all influenza A strains including seasonal and pandemic H1N1 and the avian H5N1 strain. Responsibility for development will be shared between Crucell and the Ortho-McNeil business or its affiliates.
The flu-mAb part of the collaboration will in part be funded by Crucell’s recently won U.S. NIH contract to develop mAb-based products against seasonal and pandemic flu. The contract, announced in August, provides for NIH funding of up to $40.7 million, with additional options worth another $28.4 million, triggered at the NIH’ discretion.
Additionally, Crucell has discovered influenza antibodies and will be responsible for R&D of these candidates and any new antibodies discovered through the collaboration through to Phase IIa trials. Ortho-McNeil will then take over further development.