Privately-held USA-based biotech BeneVir has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Janssen Biotech, part of US healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ).
BeneVir is a portfolio company within holding company HC2’s Pansend Life Sciences subsidiary. Its focus is on developing oncolytic immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer, based on its T-Stealth platform, to help patients whose tumors do not respond to current therapeutic options including immune checkpoint inhibitors.
Janssen will make an upfront cash payment of $140 million, plus additional contingent payments of up to $900 million based on achievement of certain predetermined milestones. The total sum could exceed $1 billion if all milestones are met.
BeneVir has not yet generated any clinical data so Janssen intends to advance pre-clinical candidates as stand-alone therapies and in combination with other immunotherapies for the treatment of solid tumor cancers.
Peter Lebowitz, global therapeutic area head, oncology, Janssen Research & Development, said: “Oncolytic viral immunotherapy holds exciting potential in the treatment of solid tumors through the priming and augmenting of an anti-tumor immune response.
“BeneVir’s unique technology platform complements our immuno-oncology research, which is focused on bringing forward an array of novel immunotherapies and combinations that may improve treatment outcomes for patients.”
Mathai Mammen, global head of Janssen Research & Development, added: “We are delighted to add the scientific calibre of the BeneVir team and their oncolytic immunotherapy platform to Janssen’s robust immuno-oncology efforts.
“We are committed to pursue transformational science from our own laboratories and those of others, as we continue to advance our focus on treating some of the world’s most devastating diseases.”