Johnson & Johnson, Pharmacyclics enter into development agreement for anti-cancer compound

Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Biotech unit announced Thursday that it entered into an agreement with Pharmacyclics to jointly develop and market the anti-cancer compound, PCI-32765, in a deal valued at as much as $975 million for Pharmacyclics. "PCI-32765 is an innovative compound, with broad applicability and the potential to help a large number of patients with B-cell malignancies" remarked William N. Hait, global therapeutic head of oncology for Janssen, adding that "the agreement with Pharmacyclics is an opportunity to bring a new form of oral therapy to patients" with these malignancies.

Under the terms of the agreement, the companies entered into a worldwide 50/50 profit-loss agreement, sharing development and commercialisation activities. Janssen has made an upfront payment of $150 million which will be recorded in the fourth quarter, and will make additional payments of up to $825 million based upon the achievement of certain development and regulatory milestones.

The small molecule inhibitor of Bruton's tyrosine kinase (Btk) is being tested in early and mid-stage studies for a panel of B-cell malignancy disorders, including chronic lymphocytic leukemia, mantle cell lymphoma and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Data from mid-stage studies of the compound were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting and will be presented at the upcoming American Society of Hematology Meeting in December.

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