Janssen inks $800M discovery deal for Molecular Partners' small protein tech

J&J's Janssen Biotech is taking its discovery pact with Switzerland's Molecular Partners one step further. Building on their pact to use Molecular Partners' small protein DARPin tech platform--short for Designed Ankyrin Repeat Protein--Janssen is picking up four options on new treatments found for immunological conditions.

Their announcement didn't break down the numbers on upfronts and milestones, but the companies said Janssen is on the hook for up to $200 million total for each option, with a double-digit royalty stream available on each. Typically discovery deals like these are heavily back-ended.

"We see the enabling power of the DARPin platform as a compound engine for us and our partners to generate pioneering multispecific compounds delivering true patient benefit," said Christian Zahnd, Ph.D., the CEO of Molecular Partners. Molecular Partners has the rights to any programs that Janssen passes on.

Molecular Partners has been attracting attention with its small protein drug platform, promising that they can find new treatments with unique binding abilities. In April, Allergan paid Molecular Partners a $45 million upfront and promised up to $375 million in milestones to partner on MP0112, a Phase II eye drug that targets VEGF.

- here's the Janssen release