Johnson & Johnson group Janssen has signed a deal with US biopharma MacroGenics for a license to its preclinical bispecific molecule MGD015.

MGD015 incorporates MacroGenics' proprietary Dual-Affinity Re-Targeting (DART) platform to simultaneously target CD3 and an undisclosed tumour target for the potential treatment of various haematological malignancies and solid tumours.

MacroGenics has already demonstrated that the experimental therapy can kill targeted cells both in vitro and in vivo, with high response rates in several mouse tumour xenograft models.
"MGD015 is a promising product candidate that employs MacroGenics' proprietary DART platform to enable a potent redirected T-cell killing mechanism with 'off-the-shelf' convenience," said the firm's chief executive Scott Koenig, also noting that the approach is already being evaluated in five other clinical-stage programmes.

Under the terms of the deal, MacroGenics will receive a $75 million upfront license fee, but it could receive up to an additional $665 million in clinical, regulatory and commercialisation milestone payments assuming successful development and commercialisation, as well as double-digit royalties on any global net sales.

Janssen will complete IND-enabling activities and be fully responsible for future clinical development of MGD015.