Johnson & Johnson, Genmab enter deal potentially worth over $1.1 billion for cancer drug daratumumab

Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Biotech unit entered a global licence and development deal with Genmab that could be worth more than $1.1 billion for the experimental cancer drug daratumumab, the companies reported Thursday. William Hait, head of Janssen Research & Development, remarked that the CD38 monoclonal antibody "is an exciting, innovative compound, and we are delighted to add it to our portfolio."

Under the agreed terms, Genmab will grant Johnson & Johnson an exclusive global license to develop and commercialise daratumumab as well as a back-up CD38 human antibody. In return, Johnson & Johnson will make an upfront payment of $55 million to Genmab and invest approximately $80 million in new shares of the biotechnology company, representing a holding of 10.7 percent. Genmab is also eligible to receive up to $1 billion in milestone payments, as well as tiered double-digit royalties.

Daratumumab is currently being investigated in Phase I/II studies in relapsed, refractory multiple myeloma. Genmab, which noted that the compound may have potential in other indications, such as acute myeloid leukaemia, will be responsible for completing the ongoing trials, while Johnson & Johnson will take over all other development, clinical and regulatory filing activities.

Nomura Code analyst Samir Devani said "much had been anticipated from a licensing deal for daratumumab and we believe this deal has more than met the expectation." Genmab shares jumped as much as 25 percent on the news.

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