Canada-based biotech enGene, which has focused on development of therapeutics using its proprietary “Gene Pill” and enema gene delivery platform, has entered into a definitive agreement with Janssen Biotech, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, to develop and commercialize new therapies for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Under the agreement, which was facilitated by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, enGene will receive an up-front payment, equity investment through Johnson & Johnson Innovation JJDC and R&D funding. Furthermore, enGene is eligible to receive various preclinical, clinical, regulatory and commercialization success-based milestone payments up to a total of $441 million, plus tiered royalties on potential net sales of products.
The strategic alliance leverages enGene’s proprietary non-viral vector platform for gene delivery to cells lining the intestine. It provides Janssen with the option to exclusively license enGene’s lead product candidate, EG-12, for gut-localized expression of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10. Janssen and enGene will jointly develop EG-12 through to clinical proof-of-mechanism in patients with IBD. Upon exercise of its option, Janssen will take over further clinical development and commercialization of EG-12 for all indications worldwide. The collaboration also allows Janssen to explore the therapeutic potential of enGene’s platform to deliver one additional undisclosed target.