Janssen Beefs Up Antibody Discovery Capabilities through Agreement with Sevion

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The partnership will focus on the discovery of antibodies against proteins that are not easily purified in functional form.

Sevion announced on Dec. 22, 2014 that it is partnering with CNA Development, an affiliate of Janssen, to conduct research on antibody targets. Janssen will deliver an upfront payment of an undisclosed amount to Sevion, and Sevion will be eligible to receive royalties and payments of up to $125 million upon fulfillment of development and commercial milestones. In turn, Janssen will get an exclusive license for all candidates developed as a result of the agreement.

Sevion specializes in isolating targets that are difficult to access and purify, including multispanning membrane proteins and ion channels. The company’s “spatially addressed library platform” allows screening directly on the cell surface. Its product candidates are found via their proprietary technology platforms, including cell-based array antibody discovery, ultra-long antibody scaffolds, and Chimerasome nanocages.

Chimerasome nanocages encapsulate drugs or nucleic acid therapeutics and can be engineered to have targeted antibodies or peptides on their exterior surfaces. Ultralong antibody scaffolds, which are based on novel bovine antibodies, contain a structurally diverse, disulfide-bonded “knob” domain that could influence antigen binding and open up new possibilities for therapeutic use.


“We believe our ability to identify antibodies against unpurified targets, particularly multispanning membrane proteins, and with different affinities and activities, will lead to breakthroughs in treatment for patients with serious disease,” said Vaughn Smider, chief scientific officer of Sevion, in a press release.