Phenex Pharmaceuticals AG has entered into an agreement with Janssen Biotech, Inc. to jointly discover compounds that target the nuclear hormone receptor RORγT with the potential to treat chronic autoimmune and inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Phenex will receive an upfront payment and development milestones totaling as much as $135 million. Phenex is also eligible to receive royalties and milestones for any product sales resulting from the collaboration. Janssen will have sole responsibility for the continued development and worldwide commercialization.
“This collaboration represents a landmark deal for Phenex,” said Dr. Claus Kremoser, chief executive officer of Phenex. “It combines Phenex’s nuclear receptor expertise, the accomplishments of its RORγT program and the immunology expertise of Janssen so that we will work together to discover new RORγT based treatments for autoimmune diseases. We hope that small molecule drugs that target RORγT will prove to be a safe, effective and affordable means to treat autoimmune disease, a marketplace within which there remains a need for differentiated therapies.”