Johnson & Johnson, Genmab look to develop Darzalex follow-on

Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Biotech unit entered an exclusive worldwide license and option agreement with Genmab to develop and commercialise HexaBody-CD38, the latter company announced Tuesday. The next-generation human CD38 monoclonal antibody product incorporates Genmab's HexaBody technology.

"We hope to build upon the successful and productive relationship that we have established with Janssen," remarked Genmab CEO Jan van de Winkel, which led to the development of Darzalex (daratumumab). "Encouraging preclinical data suggest that HexaBody-CD38 could be superior to [Darzalex] for certain tumour cell types and may expand and extend the promise of CD38-targeted therapies for more patients with multiple myeloma, lymphoma, leukaemia and potentially beyond," the executive added.

Under the agreed terms, Genmab will fund R&D activities for HexaBody-CD38 until completion of clinical proof-of-concept studies in multiple myeloma and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Following this, Janssen may exercise its option and receive a global license to develop, manufacture and commercialise HexaBody-CD38.

The companies noted that if Janssen takes up its option, it will pay Genmab a $150 million fee, with the latter also eligible to receive up to $125 million in development milestones, as well as a flat royalty rate of 20 percent on sales of HexaBody-CD38 until a specified time in 2031, followed by 13 percent to 20 percent tiered royalties on sales thereafter. Additional details of the collaboration were not disclosed.

For related analysis, read ViewPoints: Multiple myeloma landscape headed for a reset- again.

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