Morphic Therapeutic and Janssen have entered into a research and development collaboration to discover and develop novel integrin therapeutics for patients with conditions not adequately addressed by current therapies.

The collaboration, potentially worth over $700 million, will focus on several undisclosed integrin targets and will explore both inhibitors and activators of integrin function. Through this, the partnership will expand therapeutic potential of the Morphic pipeline, furthering its leadership position in novel oral small molecule integrin inhibitors.

Under the terms of the agreement, the companies will collaborate through preclinical development to identify and advance candidates. Janssen will be responsible for global clinical development and commercialisation of licensed compounds, paying Morphic an undisclosed upfront payment and funding research activities.

In addition, Morphic will receive from Janssen multiple preclinical development, clinical and commercial milestone payments totalling over $725 million if milestones are achieved.

“Our team is pleased to have a partner of Janssen’s caliber join our network of collaborators working together to drive the development of a new generation of oral integrin medicines using our in-house platform,” said Praveen Tipirneni, president and chief executive of Morphic Therapeutic.

“The dysregulation of the diverse integrin family is implicated in many conditions, creating an urgency which drives our team’s mission to rapidly and systematically interrogate this target class both from an inhibition and activation perspective. This partnership offers exciting opportunities to advance oral integrin development into new areas of research which creates value for all our internal programs and accelerates the refinement and validation of our platform.”

Integrins are a ubiquitous family of receptors expressed on the surface of most human cells.