Janssen Biotech inked a research collaboration and option agreement with Molecular Partners focused on developing products based on the latter’s DARPin® (Designed Ankyrin Repeat Protein) platform for the treatment of immunological diseases. The deal expands the firms’ current agreement to evaluate DARPins against a set of defined targets.
Under terms of the latest deal Molecular Partners and Janssen will work together to develop DARPins against selected targets. During the research phase Janssen will be able to exercise four options to exclusively license resulting products. For each and any option exercised, the firm will take over all further clinical development, manufacturing, and commercialization activities. Molecular Partners retains an option to co-develop one product on a global basis. The firm will receive up-front/license fees and research funding, together with development and sales milestones of up to $200 million for each option, plus up to double-digit royalties on worldwide sales.
DARPins are derived from natural ankyrin repeat proteins that serve diverse functions such as anchoring to other proteins, cell signaling, or receptor binding. Molecular Partners’ DARPin libraries have been developed using a consensus design approach that the firm claims employed all know ankyrin repeat domains.
Lead clinical-stage product, MP0112, is in development for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration and diabetic macular edema. In May the firm exclusively licensed MP0112 to Allergan for global development, in return for a $45 million up-front payment and potential development, regulatory, and sales milestones of another $375 million.
Molecular Partners' in-house programs include preclinical-stage products for therapeutic indications in oncology and immunology/inflammation.