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Astex in $500m deal

Astex Therapeutics has signed a new research deal with Janssen Pharmaceutica, which could see the company earn close to $500m in royalty payments
Astex Therapeutics has signed a new research deal with Janssen Pharmaceutica, which could see the company earn close to $500m in royalty payments.

The agreement effectively grants Janssen Pharmaceutica, a US company owned by Johnson & Johnson, exclusive rights to develop compounds from Astex's fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) inhibitor programme. Responsibility for clinical and pre-clinical R&D of the compounds will fall to Ortho Biotech Research & Development, a division of Janssen Pharmaceutica.

Astex now stands to receive $37.4m in upfront cash, equity payments, and research funding over a two-year period. The deal signals the creation of a novel drug discovery programme that is focused on developing treatments for cancer, with two specific research targets having already been set.

"This is another landmark agreement for Astex," said Harren Jhoti, CEO of Astex Therapeutics.

"This partnership is another testament to Astex's position as the leader in fragment-based drug discovery and the productivity generated by our platform."

The company says that these latest developments serve as proof of the efficacy of its proprietary drug discovery platform, Pyramid, which has generated one new cancer drug candidate for clinical testing per year since 2004.

Under the terms of the deal, Astex now has the right to commercialise FGFR products developed under the US collaboration.

9th June 2008

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