Nanjing Legend Biotech had impressed many at the ASCO with its CAR-T data, and now J&J is laying out $350 million upfront to partner with the biotech to find “cure” for certain blood cancers.
Over the summer, Nanjing Legend Biotech took the attention at the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting, revealing that its CAR-T candidate may be both a safe and efficient treatment for relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma.
In the ongoing early-phase clinical trial in China, 94% of the 35 patients whose multiple myeloma had relapsed on previous treatments had clinical remission within two months of taking Legend’s experimental anti-BCMA CAR-T cell product, named LCAR-B38M, and the objective response rate was 100%.
This caught the attention of J&J, to join forces for the development, manufacturing and selling of LCAR-B38M. The deal has been accepted for reviewal by China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) and in “the planning phase of clinical studies in the United States for multiple myeloma,” according to the U.S. conglomerate. Legend gets $350 million upfront, along with biobucks and royalties down the road.
In the deal, Legend provides Janssen with J&J’s biotech unit as well as a worldwide license to together develop and market LCAR-B38M in multiple myeloma with the Legend. The companies have arrived at a 50-50 cost-sharing/profit-split arrangement, besides in Greater China where Janssen and Legend have a 30-70 arrangement.
“Despite significant advances, multiple myeloma remains an incurable disease for most patients, creating the need for additional, highly active options. LCAR-B38M provides an innovative approach with the potential to transform the treatment of myeloma,” said Peter Lebowitz, M.D., Ph.D., Janssen Research & Development.
“We look forward to collaborating with the pioneering scientific team at Legend and applying our expertise to the development of this cell therapy, with the goal of building regimens aiming for a cure.”