Janssen Biotech, a Johnson & Johnson company, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire BeneVir Biopharm, a privately-held company specializing in the development of oncolytic immunotherapies, for as much as $1 billion. The transaction, subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018.
BeneVir uses its T-Stealth Oncolytic Virus Platform to engineer oncolytic viruses tailored to infect and destroy cancer cells. Janssen intends to advance preclinical candidates as standalone therapies and in combination with other immunotherapies for the treatment of solid tumor cancers (e.g., lung, prostate, colorectal, etc.).
"Oncolytic viral immunotherapy holds exciting potential in the treatment of solid tumors through the priming and augmenting of an anti-tumor immune response," said Peter Lebowitz, Global Therapeutic Area Head, Oncology, Janssen Research & Development. "BeneVir's unique technology platform complements our immuno-oncology research, which is focused on bringing forward an array of novel immunotherapies and combinations that may improve treatment outcomes for patients."
"We are delighted to add the scientific caliber of the BeneVir team and their oncolytic immunotherapy platform to Janssen's robust immuno-oncology efforts," said Mathai Mammen, Global Head, Janssen Research & Development. "We are committed to pursue transformational science from our own laboratories and those of others, as we continue to advance our focus on treating some of the world's most devastating diseases."
BeneVir will maintain a research presence in Rockville, MD and become part of the Janssen Oncology Therapeutic Area. The team will remain focused on the optimization of next generation T-Stealth oncolytic viruses in solid tumors and the execution of preclinical activities.