J&J, Astex ink potential $500 million deal for cancer research


LONDON Astex Therapeutics has signed a cancer drug research deal with Johnson & Johnson that can potentially be worth more than $500 million in milestone payments, according to Reuters.

Astex will receive upfront payments, cash and equity payment and research funding of $37.4 million over two years under the agreement. Total payments, excluding royalties, would be worth over $500 million to Astex, assuming one product from each program is successfully commercialized in all territories, Astex said.

The deal grants a worldwide license to J&J’s Janssen unit to develop and commercialize compounds arising from Astex’s Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor inhibitor program and establishes a novel drug discovery program focused on two further cancer drug targets. FGFR activates a biochemical pathway that promotes cell growth and is thought to play a role in multiple myeloma, breast, prostate, colon and bladder cancers.

Astex also has deals with other big drug companies like, Novartis, AstraZeneca, Bayer and Boehringer Ingelheim.

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