Janssen, MeiraGTx Partner on Eye-Focused Gene Therapy

February 1, 2019

Janssen and MeiraGTx will collaborate on the development and commercialization of gene therapies for treating inherited retinal diseases.

On Jan. 31, 2019, MeiraGTx Holdings, a vertically integrated, clinical-stage gene therapy company, announced that it has entered into a broad strategic collaboration with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, to develop and commercialize gene therapies for treating inherited retinal diseases (IRDs). The transaction is expected to close in the first calendar quarter of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions.

Under the agreement, MeiraGTx will receive $100 million in cash as an upfront payment and is eligible to receive additional payments for achieving development and sales milestones related to three product candidate programs, CNGB3, CNGA3, and X-linked retinitis pigmentosa (XLRP). These milestone payments can reach up to $340 million. In addition, Janssen could pay untiered royalties of 20% of annual net sales for the CNGB3, CNGA3, and XLRP programs. Janssen has agreed to fund all clinical development and commercialization costs for these programs.

According to their deal, the two companies will collaborate in the clinical development of MeiraGTx’s leading IRD pipeline, including product candidates for achromatopsia (ACHM) caused by mutations in either CNGB3 or CNGA3 and XLRP. In addition, the companies are entering into a research collaboration covering MeiraGTx’s pipeline of pre-clinical programs for IRDs. They are also entering into a research collaboration to further develop adeno-associated virus manufacturing technology as well as clinical and commercial manufacturing supply agreements for the clinical and research programs.

“We are very excited to collaborate with Janssen, a leader in the world of innovation and the creation of new medicines. By combining Janssen’s extensive clinical, regulatory, and commercial expertise and global reach with MeiraGTx’s deep experience in gene therapy development and manufacturing, we aim to accelerate the development of our pipeline of potential IRD gene therapies to address the needs of patients globally,” said Alexandria Forbes, PhD, president and CEO of MeiraGTx, in a company press release.

This is MeiraGTx’s second collaboration with Janssen. In October 2018, the companies entered into a research collaboration to develop regulatable gene therapy treatments using MeiraGTx’s proprietary riboswitch technology.

IRDs are a group of rare eye conditions caused by an inherited gene mutation often characterized by progressive retinal degeneration. This often leads to severe vision impairment, loss, or blindness. MeiraGTx currently has three ongoing clinical programs in IRDs, with a fourth program expected to enter clinical development in the first half of 2019 and an extensive pipeline of pre-clinical IRD programs for a variety of gene mutations.

Source: MeiraGTx