Partnering News: J&J, Bayer, & More
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A roundup of bio/pharmaceutical partnering news from J&J/Mersana Therapeutics; Bayer’s AskBio/Touchlight; Oxford Biomedica/Homology Medicines.

J&J, Mersana in $1-Bn Antibody-Drug Conjugates Pact
Janssen Biotech, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, and Mersana Therapeutics, a bio/pharmaceutical company focused on developing antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) targeting cancers, have entered into a research collaboration and license agreement to discover ADCs for three targets, in a deal worth up to $1 billion ($40 million upfront).

Under the agreement, Janssen will provide proprietary antibodies for three targets. Mersana will apply its expertise and its proprietary Dolasynthen platform to discover novel ADC product candidates. Mersana may use Synaffix’s GlycoConnect technology as its preferred site-specific ADC bioconjugation technology. Mersana says it will collaborate with Janssen on target candidates during preclinical development, with Janssen being solely responsible for clinical development and commercialization.

Mersana will receive an upfront payment of $40 million. Mersana is eligible to receive reimbursement of certain costs as well as more than $1 billion in potential milestone payments, plus mid-single-digit to low double-digit percentage royalties on worldwide net sales of ADCs against the selected targets.

Source: Mersana Therapeutics


Bayer’s AskBio, Touchlight To Restructure JV
Asklepios BioPharmaceutical (AskBio), a Research Triangle Park, North Carolina-based clinical-stage gene-therapy company and subsidiary of Bayer, and Touchlight, a London-based bio/pharmaceutical company, have announced a revised structure to their former joint venture (JV), Touchlight AAV.

Under the revised arrangement implemented on February 1, 2022, both parties will have co-exclusive rights to independently supply the adeno-associated virus (AAV) market with doggybone DNA (dbDNA) through their respective independently owned CDMO.

Additionally, AskBio has secured 100% ownership of a manufacturing site in San Sebastian, Spain for production of research, clinical and commercial AAV dbDNA. It will be operated through the former Touchlight AAV organization, which will be rebranded and operate as TAAV, as part of the restructure. TAAV will retain the right to manufacture AAV dbDNA both for AskBio’s internal product development pipeline as well as continuing to provide AAV dbDNA to third-party customers from their new, recently completed facility in San Sebastian, Spain.

Through the transaction, Touchlight regains co-exclusive rights to manufacture and sell its proprietary technology, dbDNA for AAV production. Financial details of the agreement are not disclosed.

Source: Bayer and Touchlight


Oxford Biomedica Forms US-based Viral Vector Mfg Biz
Oxford Biomedica, a developer of cell and gene therapies and a contract manufacturer, and Homology Medicines, a genetic medicines company, have agreed to establish Oxford Biomedica Solutions, a new US-based adeno-associated virus (AAV) manufacturing and innovation business.

As a result of the agreement, Oxford Biomedica will establish a presence in the US and will offer manufacturing expertise in AAV and lentiviral-based cell and gene therapies. Oxford Biomedica Solutions will provide access to Homology’s end-to-end manufacturing capabilities.

The AAV manufacturing and innovation business is to be led by Tim Kelly as Chief Executive Officer and Chair of its Board of Directors. Mr. Kelly is currently the Chief Operating Officer of Homology.

Under the agreement, Oxford Biomedica will pay Homology $130 million upfront and invest $50 million to fund Oxford Biomedica Solutions in return for an 80% ownership stake while Homology will own 20% of the new company. Additionally, at any time following the three-year anniversary of the agreement, Oxford Biomedica will have a call option to purchase, and Homology will have a put option to require Oxford Biomedica to purchase, Homology’s ownership interest in Oxford Biomedica Solutions.

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022, subject to the satisfaction of certain closing conditions including the requirements of the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976.

Source: Homology Medicines