Johnson & Johnson Collaborates with Aduro BioTech - Analyst Blog

Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ ) has inked a global licensing deal with the privately held Aduro BioTech for developing new therapies to treat prostate cancer. According to the oncology deal, the private company granted Janssen Biotech, a division of Johnson & Johnson, the exclusive license to certain candidates specifically engineered for the treatment of prostate cancer on the basis of Aduro's proprietary live-attenuated double-deleted (LADD) immunotherapy platform. The deal has been facilitated by the Johnson & Johnson's innovation center in California.

The platform comprises live-attenuated double-deleted Listeria monocytogenes strains engineered to induce a potent innate immune response and to express tumor-associated antigens for inducing tumor-specific T cell-mediated immunity.

According to the transaction, Johnson & Johnson will be solely responsible for activities related to research, development, manufacturing, regulatory and commercialization of the licensed candidates. Aduro will see its balance sheet being strengthened as a result of the deal. The company is eligible to receive up to $365 million in upfront license fees and milestone payments. Johnson & Johnson will also have to make royalty payments (tiered) on global net sales of the drugs following their approvals.

A separate agreement saw Aduro granting exclusive rights to its GVAX technology for prostate cancer to the healthcare giant. We note that Aduro's GVAX portfolio includes vaccines for various cancer types like pancreatic, prostate, colon and breast cancer.

We note that Johnson & Johnson already has a presence in the prostate cancer market in the form of Zytiga. The company is developing ARN-509 for the treatment of castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Apart from Zytiga, the prostate cancer market includes Dendreon Corporation 's ( DNDN ) Provenge, Sanofi 's ( SNY ) Jevtana among others.

Johnson & Johnson carries a Zacks Rank # 3 (Hold). A better-ranked stock in the large cap pharma space is Allergan ( AGN ), carrying a Zacks Rank # 1 (Strong Buy).

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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