Janssen, Phenex Pharma enter research collaboration worth up to $135 million
Janssen has entered into a collaboration agreement with Phenex Pharmaceuticals AG, a German drug discovery company that focuses on developing innovative small molecule therapeutics, in the fields of liver diseases, autoimmune diseases and inflammatory disorders.
The aim of the agreement is to jointly discover compounds that target the nuclear hormone receptor ROR?T and may have utility in the treatment of chronic and autoimmune inflammatory disorders including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Under the terms of the agreement, Phenex will receive an upfront payment and milestone payments upon the achievement of specific development and regulatory events that could total as much as US$135 million. In addition, Phenex will also be eligible to receive tiered royalties and milestones on the worldwide sales of products that arise from the collaboration.
“This collaboration represents a landmark deal for Phenex. It combines Phenex’s nuclear receptor expertise, the accomplishments of its ROR?T program and the immunology expertise of Janssen so that we will work together to discover new ROR?T based treatments for autoimmune diseases. We hope that small molecule drugs that target ROR?T will prove to be a safe, effective and affordable means to treat autoimmune disease, a marketplace within which there remains a need for differentiated therapies. ”
Dr. Claus Kremoser, CEO of Phenex.
Researchers from Phenex and Janssen will work collaboratively towards the goal of identifying compounds that are active against ROR?T and optimized for preclinical development. Thereafter, Janssen will have sole responsibility for the continued development and worldwide commercialization of any compounds that arise from the collaboration.