Vedanta Biosciences Announces License Agreement with Janssen and Johnson & Johnson Innovation for Microbiome Pharmaceutical Candidate for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Jan 13, 2015, 08:00 ET from Vedanta Biosciences

BOSTON, Jan. 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Vedanta Biosciences, a leading microbiome company, today announced a license agreement with Janssen Biotech, Inc. (Janssen), one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, for Vedanta's lead microbiome pharmaceutical candidate (VE202), which has demonstrated efficacy in published preclinical studies using models of autoimmune disease.

Under terms of the agreement, which was facilitated by the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center in Boston, Janssen will develop and seek to commercialize the pharmaceutical candidate in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).  Vedanta will receive an up-front payment and is eligible to receive development and commercialization milestone payments for an IBD indication up to a potential total of $241 million, plus possible additional consideration related to commercialization.  Vedanta may continue to explore other disease indications and Janssen and Vedanta may elect to develop and commercialize within one or more additional indications with terms similar to the IBD indication.

This agreement follows the initial investment that Johnson & Johnson Innovation - JJDC made in Vedanta in June 2013.

"Vedanta was founded on the belief that the microbiome represents one of the great frontiers of human health. Johnson & Johnson Innovation and Janssen have demonstrated that they share this vision, and we're excited to be working with them to bring this program forward," said David Steinberg, Interim Vedanta CEO and a Partner at PureTech Ventures.

The lead pharmaceutical candidate is one of the first potential drugs to emerge from the growing body of research demonstrating the role of the microbiome in human diseases.

"The recent enthusiasm around the microbiome needs to be directed to translational research to truly fulfill the potential of the field. We chose our lead candidate because it had such robust data supporting its profound role in human biology," said Dr. Ruslan Medzhitov, Professor at Yale University and co-founder and Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of Vedanta. 

"We are very pleased that Vedanta's discovery platform has generated such an exciting candidate and collaboration," said Bernat Olle, COO of Vedanta. "We've shown that we can start with complex biology and mine the microbiome for potent pharmaceutical products."

The development of the lead pharmaceutical candidate originated from work conducted initially at the University of Tokyo, and published in Nature and Science, by Dr. Kenya Honda, who showed that specific gut-dwelling bacteria control key immune cells that combat autoimmune diseases.

About Vedanta

Vedanta was founded by PureTech and a group of world-renowned experts in immunology and microbiology including Dr. Ruslan Medzhitov (Professor of Immunobiology at Yale), Dr. Alexander Rudensky (tri-institutional Professor at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Institute, the Rockefeller University, and Cornell University), Dr. Dan Littman (Professor of Molecular Immunology at NYU), Dr. Brett Finlay (Professor at the University of British Columbia), and Dr. Kenya Honda (Professor, School of Medicine, Keio University). Vedanta is pioneering development of a novel class of therapies that modulate pathways of interaction between the human microbiome and the host immune system.

About PureTech

PureTech is a science and technology research and development company with the mission of developing and commercializing breakthrough technologies aimed at solving major healthcare problems. Based in Boston, PureTech is run by a team of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs and is connected to top-tier academic institutions. PureTech concentrates on a handful of major initiative areas at a time, generates and proactively identifies and reviews ~800 technologies per year, and seeks to select only the most technologically and commercially promising programs to advance. PureTech has active strategic partnerships with forward-thinking health and technology companies; investors include institutional investors like Invesco Perpetual, strategic investors, endowments and founders and senior leaders of major healthcare and technology companies.

SOURCE Vedanta Biosciences