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Janssen, Vedanta enter license deal for lead microbiome pharmaceutical candidate

Janssen Biotech has entered into a license agreement with Vedanta Biosciences for its lead microbiome pharmaceutical candidate (VE202), which showed efficacy in published preclinical studies using models of autoimmune disease.

The deal, facilitated by the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center, will see Janssen develop and may commercialize the pharmaceutical candidate in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

As part of the deal, Vedanta will receive an up-front payment and is eligible to receive development and commercialization milestone payments for an IBD indication up to a potential total of $241m, including possible additional consideration associated with commercialization.

Additionally, Vedanta may continue to explore other disease indications and the two firms may opt to develop and commercialize within one or more additional indications with terms similar to the IBD indication.

The license deal follows the initial investment that Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC made in Vedanta in June 2013.

According to the company, the lead pharmaceutical candidate is one of the first potential drugs to emerge from the growing body of research showing the role of the microbiome in human diseases.

Vedanta co-founder and chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board and professor at Yale University Dr Ruslan Medzhitov said: "The recent enthusiasm around the microbiome needs to be directed to translational research to truly fulfill the potential of the field.

"We chose our lead candidate because it had such robust data supporting its profound role in human biology."