J&J's Centocor buys RespiVert

Centocor Ortho Biotech, a division of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), announced today that it has acquired acquired RespiVert, a private company that's developing small-molecule, inhaled therapies for the treatment of pulmonary diseases. RespiVert's two lead compounds are RV-568 and RV-1088, potential treatments for asthma, COPD and cystic fibrosis. Both programs are entering clinical trials. 

RespiVert will continue to lead development of the two lung drugs in collaboration with Centocor scientists. The company will remain in London, where it's currently based. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Imperial Innovations Group, one of RespiVert's VC backers, has made almost $14 million on the sale of its 13.4 percent stake in the developer.

"The RespiVert compounds offer the potential for a new class of medicines for patients with severe lung disease who are insensitive to inhaled corticosteroids," says Centocor's Susan Dillon, Global Therapeutic Area Head, Immunology. "The addition of RespiVert's expert scientific team and discovery platforms for inhaled medicines strengthens our capabilities and further builds our pipeline of novel oral and biologic therapies for serious pulmonary diseases."

- here's the release on the deal
- read this report for more