Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Biotech has signed a definitive agreement to buy biotechnology company BeneVir Biopharm for a total consideration of $1.04bn.
BeneVir is a portfolio company under HC2 Holdings subsidiary Pansend Life Sciences, and primarily focuses on the development of oncolytic immunotherapies using its T-Stealth platform.
Under the terms of the transaction, Janssen will pay $140m upfront to BeneVir, along with another $900m in contingent payments upon achieving pre-specified milestones.
Janssen Research & Development, oncology global therapeutic area head Peter Lebowitz said: “Oncolytic viral immunotherapy holds exciting potential in the treatment of solid tumours through the priming and augmenting of an anti-tumour immune response.
“BeneVir’s unique technology platform complements our immuno-oncology research, which is focused on bringing forward an array of novel immunotherapies and combinations that may improve treatment outcomes for patients.”
BeneVir uses its T-Stealth platform to engineer oncolytic viruses to overcome the body’s immune system barrier to treat cancer.
Janssen plans to further develop its pre-clinical candidates as monotherapies in conjunction with other immunotherapies to treat solid tumour cancers.
BeneVir Biopharm founder and CEO Matt Mulvey said: “Our goal at BeneVir has been to develop T-Stealth, an oncolytic immunotherapy platform, to help patients whose tumours do not respond to current therapeutic options including immune checkpoint inhibitors.
“We are excited to join the Janssen team and continue to innovate in the field of oncolytic viral immunotherapy.”
The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to be completed in the second quarter of this year.
After the completion, BeneVir will be integrated into the Janssen Oncology Therapeutic Area but will retain its research presence in Rockville, Maryland, US.