UPDATED: J&J steps up with $700M deal for MacroGenics' blood cancer drug, shares spike

Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) is fronting $125 million to gain the worldwide license on a bispecific cancer drug from MacroGenics, with up to $575 million more promised in prospective milestones for a successful development program. And the biotech says that the deal marks the beginning of a new program for a drug designed to stir a T cell attack against blood cancers.

Just weeks after Takeda stepped up to ink a $1.6 billion deal with the biotech, MacroGenics is licensing out MGD011, a preclinical antibody that can target both CD19 and CD3 for B-cell malignancies. The pharma giant is paying out $50 million as a licensing fee and will pay $75 million to buy MacroGenics shares ($MGNX) at $39 a share.

MacroGenics' shares spiked 16% on the news.

MacroGenics is touting its punch against B-cell malignancies with an antibody that promises to deliver a therapeutic that can be delivered once weekly or even less frequently. And it's touting its ability to stir a T cell attack against cancer that's even better than the personalized CAR-T therapies that have been generating a huge amount of market chatter for the likes of Juno Therapeutics ($JUNO) and Novartis ($NVS). CD19-targeting drugs have been a big focus among developers looking to advance new drugs for blood cancers.

MacroGenics says an IND application for the therapy is planned for 2015.

MacroGenics CEO & co-founder Dr. Scott Koenig

"MGD011 is a promising product candidate and one that we believe is meaningfully differentiated from competing CD19-directed therapies," said Dr. Scott Koenig, the CEO of MacroGenics, in a statement. "Janssen represents the ideal partner for this product candidate, given their track record of successfully developing and commercializing transformative oncology therapies and their experience in the B-cell malignancy area. We look forward to working with Janssen to significantly expand the development of MGD011 and maximize its value."

MacroGenics was named a Fierce 15 company in 2013 and went public in the fall of 2013 in a popular IPO. Its shares were trading at $34.53 at the end of day on Friday.

In addition to Takeda and J&J, MacroGenics boasts a group of development partners that also includes Gilead ($GILD), Pfizer ($PFE), Servier and Boehringer Ingelheim. Its lead drug is margetuximab (or MGAH22), an "Fc-optimized, monoclonal antibody that targets and binds to the HER2 protein on cancer cells and is intravenously administered in order to kill tumor cells or inhibit tumor cell growth."

- here's the release

Special Report: FierceBiotech's 2013 Fierce 15 - MacroGenics

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