Lava Therapeutics and Janssen Biotech to Collaborate on Cancer Treatment Research


Lava Therapeutics announced on Friday that it has entered a research and license agreement with Janssen Biotech. The goal is to discover and develop novel bispecific antibodies to gamma-delta T cells for the treatment of cancer.

Under the terms of the agreement, Lava Therapeutics will perform discovery and product development activities. It will also be eligible to receive an undisclosed financial package made up of an upfront payment, as well as upfront and potential development and commercial milestones.

“We are excited to enter into this collaboration with Janssen, a global innovator and leader in the development of new medicines,” said Stephen Hurly, chief executive officer of Lava Therapeutics. “We strongly believe in the strength of our bispecific gamma-delta T cell engager platform and are committed to creating highly potent, target-specific therapeutics with increased durability and safety over current T cell-based approaches.”

This is not the first such agreement that a Johnson & Johnson company has entered as of late. Back in April, the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies announced that it would be collaborating with Emergent BioSolutions to support the manufacturing of its lead investigational COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

Under the terms of the agreement, which was valued at about $135 million, Emergent agreed to provide drug substance manufacturing services. In addition, a long-term commercial manufacturing agreement is under negotiation for large-scale drug substance manufacturing.

“When mission-driven organizations combine talents and capabilities, potential solutions to serious issues like COVID-19 become more within reach to benefit patients,” said Robert G. Kramer Sr., president and chief executive officer of Emergent BioSolutions. “We are proud of our collaboration with Johnson & Johnson and are equally committed to our longstanding relationship with the U.S. government. At a time like this, we all need to be working together to achieve maximum results for public health. Emergent is committed to our mission – to protect and enhance life – by advancing our own therapies and helping partner companies advance their programs as well.”

In April, California-based Alveo Technologies also announced that it had entered a research collaboration agreement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The goal was to advance Alveo’s be.well platform of analyzers, nasal swabs and cartridges for the detection of viral infectious diseases, such as Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). There was also the potential for the use of these products for the detection of COVID-19.

Under the collaboration agreement, Alveo received financial support, in addition to technical and regulatory counsel from Janssen relating to the regulatory submission of its be.well platform.

“With be.well, we are talking about an entirely new approach to detect and help manage infectious diseases in individuals and populations,” said Ron Chiarello, PhD, Founder, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Alveo. “With a low-cost, easy-to-use device/app combination, we expect to have real-time diagnostic data to track and respond to disease outbreaks at a speed and scale that we could not have come close to previously. Janssen’s technical and regulatory support will help advance our platform, which we hope will empower people for the first time at home with on-demand infectious disease detection that may enable receiving treatment at the earliest possible time – saving countless lives and medical resources – and enabling global infectious disease surveillance on a scale, and at a speed, never seen before.”

Janssen, which is headquartered in New Jersey, has been a part of the Johnson & Johnson family since 1961. It continues to focus on six therapeutic areas, including cardio and metabolism, immunology, infectious diseases and vaccines, neuroscience, oncology and pulmonary hypertension.

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