Ichor, J&J to collaborate in $85M hep B immunotherapy deal
- Pharma giant Johnson & Johnson and Ichor Medical Systems will collaborate to develop and commercialize DNA-based vaccine therapies for treatment of chronic hepatitis B using Ichor's tech platform, TriGrid electroporation technology for clinical administration.
- Under the deal, Ichor has the potential to receive a total of $85 million in payments, including an upfront payment, as well as milestone and royalty payments.
- Hepatitis B is a chronic liver infection, which affects more than 240 million people worldwide. Though there are current treatments, they are frequently associated with numerous adverse events.
Immunotherapy R&D goes beyond oncology. In the case of DNA vaccines, the immune system is triggered when the vaccines generate antigen-specific antibodies and T-cells. The collaboration between Janssen (part of Johnson & Johnson) is based on combining Janssen's HBV vaccine candidate with Ichor's platform, which uses electroporation as a delivery mechanism.
Electroporation uses brief electrical pulses to transiently alter cell membranes, which allows DNA to enter into cells. The Trigrid delivery system has proven successful in early-stage clinical trials in terms of enhancing immune response—and represents a first-in-class delivery mechanism option.