Johnson & Johnson to pay $230 million upfront to exercise option on Idorsia's resistant hypertension drug aprocitentan

Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Biotech unit exercised an option to jointly develop Idorsia's investigational resistant hypertension treatment aprocitentan, the latter company announced Monday. Under the agreement, Johnson & Johnson will pay Idorsia $230 million upfront, as well as royalties of 20 percent to 35 percent on sales of the therapy.

In May, Actelion, which later spun-out Idorsia as a standalone company, reported mid-stage results for aprocitentan from a study involving 490 patients with essential hypertension. Results showed that after eight weeks of treatment with the orally active dual endothelin receptor antagonist, also known as ACT-132577, the mean reduction from baseline in diastolic blood pressure ranged between 6.3 mmHg and 12.0 mmHg in a statistically significant dose-dependent manner, versus a decrease of 4.9 mmHg for placebo. Idorsia noted that it is currently finalising the design of a Phase III trial, which is expected to start next year.

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Under the deal with Janssen Biotech, Idorsia will supervise development and regulatory submissions for aprocitentan for the treatment of resistant hypertension management, with costs shared equally between the two companies Meanwhile, Janssen Biotech will be responsible for development and regulatory activities for the drug in other indications.

Idorsia noted that Janssen Biotech will hold exclusive commercialisation rights on aprocitentan for all indications. Meanwhile, Idorsia will be eligible for a royalty of 20 percent on annual sales of up to $500 million, 30 percent on sales between $500 million and $2 billion, and 35 percent on sales exceeding $2 billion. Martine Clozel, Idorsia's chief scientific officer, remarked "with this decision, Janssen has recognised the potential of aprocitentan," adding that the drug "can be envisioned to have many other potential applications."

Idorsia was launched earlier this year as a spinoff of certain Actelion assets following the latter's purchase by Johnson & Johnson for about $30 billion. At the time the deal was announced, the companies noted that Johnson & Johnson would receive an option on aprocitentan.

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