J&J signs potential $500 mln drug deal with Astex

LONDON - Britain's Astex Therapeutics has signed a cancer drug research deal with Johnson & Johnson potentially worth more than $500 million in milestone payments, it said on Monday.

By (Reuters)

Published: Mon 9 Jun 2008, 6:22 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 1:07 PM

The privately owned biotech company will receive upfront payments, cash and equity payments and research funding of $37.4 million over two years under the agreement.

The deal grants a worldwide licence to J&J's Janssen unit to develop and commercialise compounds arising from Astex's FGFR inhibitor programme and establishes a novel drug discovery programme focused on two further cancer drug targets.

Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor, or FGFR, activates a biochemical pathway that promotes cell growth and is thought to play a role in multiple myeloma, breast, prostate, colon and bladder cancers.

Total payments, excluding royalties, would be worth over $500 million to Astex, assuming one product from each programme is successfully commercialised in all territories, Astex said.

The deal is a further vindication of the Cambridge-based company's fragment-based drug discovery platform, known as Pyramid.

Astex already has existing alliances with other major drugmakers, including Novartis AG, AstraZeneca Plc, Bayer AG and Boehringer Ingelheim.

Astex was established in 1999 and has raised more than 70 million pounds ($138.4 million) in external finance. Its investors include Abingworth Management, Advent International, Alta Partners, Apax, Bayer, GIMV, HypoVereinsbank, Novartis, Oxford Bioscience Partners and the University of Cambridge.

More news from Business