Johnson & Johnson hands back rights to OSE Immunotherapeutics' experimental CD28 antagonist FR104

Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Biotech unit decided to return global rights to OSE Immunotherapeutics' experimental CD28 antagonist FR104 effective December 31, the French company announced Friday. According to OSE, Janssen's decision is "based on its own internal strategic review and prioritisation of its portfolio."

Under the agreed terms, OSE will receive exclusive access to all intellectual property, data, filings and materials developed by Janssen associated with the FR104 programme. Janssen had previously exercised an option to further develop FR104 for use in autoimmune diseases and transplantation. The companies had originally entered into a global option and license agreement for FR104 in 2013.

CEO Alexis Peyroles called FR104 a "valuable asset" that is ready to enter Phase II development for autoimmune diseases. He added that the company is "currently evaluating the best options for continuing a sustainable development of FR104, including worldwide partnering opportunities."

OSE explained that "CD28 blockade by FR104 controls T effector functions while potentiating regulatory T cells," which could eventually lead to "new therapeutic options in multiple inflammatory and autoimmune diseases where T cells are involved." The drugmaker further noted that "positive safety and biological activity results from FR104's Phase I proof of clinical concept study taken together with the preclinical safety profile and efficacy data in multiple preclinical models of autoimmune/inflammatory diseases further support continued clinical development."

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