Molecular Partners has signed a strategic research collaboration with Janssen Biotech, for designed ankyrin repeat protein (DARPin) products for the treatment of immunological diseases.

DARPins are a new generation of target-binding proteins that can be integrated into multispecific drug candidates without compromising development characteristics.

Under the research agreement, Molecular Partners and Janssen Biotech will collaborate on research for selected targets, and examine the use of multispecific DARPins to address diseases that need additional effective treatment options.
During the research phase, Janssen will have the right to exercise four options to exclusively license DARPin-based products and Molecular Partners has an option to co-develop one product on a global basis.

Following execution of each option, Janssen Biotech will be responsible for all clinical development, manufacturing, and commercialisation activities of DARPin-based products.

As part of the strategic agreement, Molecular Partners will receive upfront fees, licence payments, research funding as well as development and sales milestones of up to $200m for each option.

Molecular Partners CEO Christian Zahnd said the deal will allow the company to expand its position of strength as a biopharmaceutical company developing innovative protein therapeutics, while retaining rights to develop novel assets not optioned by Janssen Biotech during the research collaboration.

"We are thrilled about entering into this broader alliance with Janssen Biotech as an expansion of our current agreement, which is a significant effort to build and expand our internal and external immunology pipeline.

”We see the enabling power of the DARPin platform as a compound engine for us and our partners to generate pioneering multispecific compounds delivering true patient benefit,” Zahnd added.

Molecular Partners is a privately-owned biotech company focusing on the research, development and commercialisation of DARPins.

Caption: DARPins are genetically engineered antibody mimetic proteins used for diagnostic and therapeutic applications.