Amunix struck a worldwide research collaboration and licensing deal with Janssen Biotech. Amunix will combine its XTEN half-life extension technology with protein and/or peptide therapeutics selected by Janssen.

Amunix will assist Janssen in engineering up to three XTEN fusion proteins. Janssen will be responsible for all preclinical and clinical development as well as for manufacturing and commercialization of the resulting products. Amunix will receive an initial up-front payment in addition to R&D funding and will be eligible for future milestone and royalty payments.

“Amunix’ XTEN polymer can be combined with a range of proteins and peptides,” says Volker Schellenberger, Ph.D., president of Amunix. “Collaborations such as this are a central element of our strategy to facilitate the use of XTEN in a range of therapeutic applications.”

In recent years, Amunix has invested in two young firms—Versartis and Diartis—to exploit its XTEN technology. The XTEN platform comprises a long, hydrophilic, unstructured polyamino acid tail, expressed as a fusion protein with the therapeutically active peptide or protein. Amunix says XTEN addresses the manufacturing and safety issues associated with the conjugation steps required in current PEGylation approaches, and could reduce the cost of goods by almost 10-fold relative to PEGylation.

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