Through the collaboration, Centocor will support the discovery research and preclinical development by Catalyst of Alterase drug candidates against two targets, one of which is in inflammatory disease, with an option to expand the agreement to include a third target. Alterase therapeutics are next-generation, protease biologics engineered with the ability to catalytically cleave and inactivate disease-causing proteins.
Catalyst Biosciences will receive an upfront payment of $11 million, comprised of cash and an equity investment by Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation (JJDC), and will receive research funding for two years.
Centocor will be responsible for all development, manufacturing, and commercialization efforts associated with the Alterase products discovered through the collaboration in exchange for future milestones and royalties.
In conjunction with the equity investment and the signing of the agreement, Asish K. Xavier, Ph.D., of JJDC will join the Catalyst Biosciences Board of Directors.
"We are very pleased to collaborate with Centocor, a leading developer of biologic therapies, to employ our Alterase drug discovery engine against high-value targets," said Nassim Usman, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Catalyst Biosciences. "We are also delighted to welcome JJDC to our premier group of investors."