Deal includes Anchor’s preclinical gpr39-targeting program and $480 million in milestones.

Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals (OMJPI) is leveraging Anchor Therapeutics’ pepducin technology to develop GPCR-targeted therapeutics for oncology and metabolic disorders. Anchor will receive an up-front payment as well as  research support and could be eligible for development and regulatory milestone payments of up to $480 million.

Anchor and OMJPI will work jointly to discover and optimize preclinical candidates against GPCR targets. This will include Anchor’s program targeting gpr39, a GPCR involved in metabolic diseases. OMJPI will assume responsibility for development and commercialization.

Pepducins are lipidated peptides designed to be allosteric modulators for GPCR targets. They are composed of a short peptide derived from a GPCR intracellular loop linked to a lipid moiety. This structure allows pepducins to anchor in the cell membrane and target the GPCR protein via a unique intracellular allosteric mechanism, according to Anchor Therapeutics.

Anchor also has a collaboration with Novartis, which was initiated in December 2008. Novartis agreed to milestones totaling over $200 million for licensing options to candidates against a specific GPCR target that Anchor would develop.  Investigational pepducins under this partnership are being developed for cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and inflammatory disorders.

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