The past week has seen a couple of 1-billion-dollar deals. First, Janssen signed a potential $1 billion deal with Theravance to develop TD-1473, a JAK inhibitor for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disorders. Several other JAK inhibitors, which control the activity of inflammatory cytokines, are already approved for various inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, but their use can be limited by systemic side effects (see https://www.nature.com/articles/nrd.2017.201). TD-1473 has been designed with the aim of restricting its inhibitory activity to the intestine, potentially helping to address this limitation.
Under the agreement, Theravance will conduct a phase 2 trial of TD-1473 for Crohn’s disease and a phase 2b/3 trial in ulcerative colitis, both of which are planned to start this year. Once data is available from these studies, Janssen will have the option to exclusively license the program, lead the further development of the drug in Crohn’s disease, and market the drug outside the US if approved, with Theravance having the option for co-commercialization in the US. Theravance will receive $100 million upfront, with the potential to receive up to another $900 million in milestone payments and royalties.
Second, Seattle Genetics is to combine its experience with antibody‒drug conjugates (ADCs) with Pieris’ anticalin platform through an immuno-oncology discovery deal that could be worth up to $1.2 billion. The partnership, which includes an upfront payment of $30 million to Pieris, will see the development of bispecific antibody–anticalin fusion proteins that will aim to direct patient’s immune cells to target tumors. The approach represents a new twist to the wealth of bispecific antibody strategies already being applied in immuno-oncology (see https://biopharmadealmakers.nature.com/users/9880-biopharma-dealmakers/posts/12964-bispecific-antibody-platforms-spawn-dealmaking-boom).