Shares in Isis Pharma have climbed on news of a research/license deal worth up to $835-million with Johnson & Johnson group Janssen Biotech, focusing on RNA-targeted drugs for autoimmune disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. 

The collaboration plans to identify and develop novel antisense drugs that can be locally administered, utilising Isis' RNA-targeted technology platform and the expertise of Janssen in autoimmune disorders across three different programmes.

Isis could make some serious cash from the deal. Upfront payments total $35 million but it could also bank up to $800 million in development, regulatory and sales milestone payments and license fees. The firm also stands to receive tiered royalties on sales from any marketed products.

Under the terms, Janssen holds an option to license a drug from each of the programmes once a development candidate is identified and, if it does so, will take on global development, regulatory and commercialisation responsibilities.