- Cilag GmbH International, a J&J/Janssen subsidiary, has purchased the privately held Swiss biotech Covagen for an undisclosed sum.
- Covagen specializes in developing multi-specific protein therapeutics using a proprietary platform.
- Covagen’s lead product, COVA 322, is being evaluated as part of a phase Ib study for treatment of psoriasis. It is a bispecific anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha/anti-interleukin (LL)-17A FynomAb that is designed to better control inflammation by blocking two key cytokines.
The Janssen-Covagen deal has built-in synergy, uniting Covagen’s lead product and Janssen’s R&D prowess in biologics development. Janssen is particularly interested in Covagen’s FynomAb platform -- a system that binds proteins with antibodies in order to create inflammation treatments.
Spokespeople for both companies cited the mutual benefit they hope to get from this deal. Janssen R&D executive Susan Dillon praised Covagen's "scientific acumen" and "novel FynomAb platform," while Covagen's CEO hailed Janssen's “tremendous knowledge in the research and development of biologics."