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GEN News Highlights : Aug 30, 2012

Genmab, Janssen Ink Maybe $1B Antibody Deal

Janssen Biotech is paying Genmab $55 million up front, and its parent Johnson & Johnson will make an additional DKK 475 million (about $80 million) investment in the Danish firm as part of a global license and development agreement for Genmab’s human anti-CD38 antibody daratumumab (HuMax®-CD38). Daratumumab is currently in early clinical development for the treatment of multiple myeloma, but Genmab says the antibody may have utility against other CD38-expressing cancers, including acute myeloid leukemia. The firm’s share price shot up nearly 20% as the markets opened to the news this morning.

Under terms of the deal Janssen gets a worldwide license to develop and commercialize daratumumab as well as a backup human CD38 antibody. Genmab could also receive up to $1 billion in development, regulatory, and sales milestones, plus tiered double-digit sales royalties. Janssen will be responsible for all development and commercialization costs including those associated with two ongoing Phase I/II studies. The equity investment, at DKK 88 per share, is at a premium to Genmab’s closing share price yesterday of DKK 67.85

The daratumumab deal follows on from a $3.5 million up-front DuoBody® technology collaboration signed by the firms just last month through which Genmab will generate up to 10 bispecific antibodies against multiple disease target combinations specified by Janssen.