Johnson & Johnson to acquire Proteologix in $850m deal to enhance immunology portfolio

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Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Proteologix, Inc., a leading biotechnology company specializing in the development of bispecific antibodies for immune-mediated diseases. The deal, valued at $850 million in cash, also includes potential additional milestone payments. This acquisition marks a significant expansion of Johnson & Johnson’s immunology portfolio, particularly in addressing conditions such as atopic dermatitis (AD) and asthma.

Enhancing Treatment Options for Atopic Dermatitis and Asthma

Proteologix’s key developments include PX128 and PX130, bispecific antibodies that are poised to transform the treatment landscape for AD and asthma. PX128, ready to enter phase 1 development, targets IL-13 and TSLP—key mediators in Th2 skin inflammation and tissue inflammation in AD and asthma. Similarly, PX130, which is in preclinical development, targets IL-13 and IL-22, focusing on inflammation and skin barrier restoration.

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These innovative treatments are designed for infrequent dosing intervals, aligning with patient preferences for convenience. By targeting multiple pathways, these therapies aim to achieve high-bar efficacy and remission in diverse patient subpopulations, a significant advancement over current treatments that often fall short in achieving remission.

Strategic Acquisition Impact

David Lee, Global Immunology Therapeutic Area Head at Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine, highlighted the potential impact of the acquisition, stating, “Atopic dermatitis is the most common inflammatory skin disease, impacting more than 100 million adults worldwide. We see an opportunity for best-in-disease efficacy for both PX128 and PX130 as each bispecific antibody targets two different combinations of disease-driving pathways that are mediating the skin inflammation in heterogenous subpopulations of AD patients.”

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Future Plans and Expansion

With this acquisition, Johnson & Johnson not only enhances its current product offerings but also acquires additional bispecific antibody programs with broad applications across various diseases. Candice Long, Worldwide Vice President of Immunology at Johnson & Johnson, expressed enthusiasm about the acquisition’s role in expanding the company’s reach, “Integrating Proteologix bispecific antibodies into our pipeline is an important first step in fulfilling our commitment to people living with AD. We plan to continue expanding our reach and impact for people living with a wide variety of immune-mediated diseases.”

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Closing and Financial Details

The transaction is expected to close in mid-year 2024, pending antitrust clearance and customary closing conditions. It will be accounted for as a business combination, with no anticipated impact on Johnson & Johnson’s 2024 adjusted EPS guidance range.

David (Wenyan) Shen, Ph.D., Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Proteologix, commented on the partnership’s potential, “This agreement with Johnson & Johnson will allow us to rapidly develop and realize the full potential of our lead programs in atopic dermatitis, asthma, and other significant I&I diseases.”

Centerview Partners LLC served as the exclusive financial advisor, and Goodwin Procter as legal counsel to Proteologix for the transaction.

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