Aveo announced an agreement today with J&J to provide the latter access to its RON (Recepteur d'Origine Nantais) antibodies that regulate tumor growth, cancer survival and metastasis. J&J will pay $15 million upfront in cash and by purchasing stock, and also committed up to $540 million in additional milestones. J&J will also fund translational research using Aveo's Human Response Platform to identify biomarkers for patients most likely to respond to RON antibodies.
This follows another cancer deal for Aveo with Astellas earlier this year to give the latter access to Aveo's tivozanib. Aveo says the J&J deal furthers its plans to maximize the potential of its proprietary cancer biology platform.
This deal also follows several trends that seem well established in pharma at this point. Namely, a modest upfront payment with big back end milestone payments. There is also the funding of translational research which is rapidly becoming a buzz phrase/activity in many deals (see GSK today). And the development of biomarkers/companion diagnostic tests to identify good responder populations is also gaining steam. See Fierce Biotech.
Posted by Bruce Lehr May 31st 2011.