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Centocor Ortho Biotech Acquires Respivert to Strengthen Pulmonary Focus

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Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc. has announced that it has acquired RespiVert Ltd., a privately held drug discovery company focused on developing small-molecule, inhaled therapies for the treatment of pulmonary diseases.

The company’s lead compounds, RV-568 and RV-1088, narrow spectrum kinase inhibitors with a unique profile of anti-inflammatory activities, are progressing into clinical development as potential first-in-class treatments for moderate to severe asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Cystic Fibrosis (CF).

The clinical development of RV-568 and RV-1088 will be led by RespiVert in collaboration with scientists at Centocor Research and Development, Inc.  The company is not disclosing financial terms.

“The RespiVert compounds offer the potential for a new class of medicines for patients with severe lung disease that are insensitive to inhaled corticosteroids,” said Susan Dillon, Ph.D., Global Therapeutic Area Head, Immunology, Centocor Research and Development, Inc.  “The addition of RespiVert’s expert scientific team and discovery platforms for inhaled medicines strengthens our capabilities and further builds our pipeline of novel oral and biologic therapies for serious pulmonary diseases.”

With the acquisition of RespiVert, Centocor Ortho Biotech gains a portfolio of first-in-class, early-stage inhaled treatments for serious lung diseases.  RespiVert will continue to maintain its research and discovery presence in London from the Imperial BioIncubator, which is based at the campus of Imperial College London.  RespiVert employees will continue to lead ongoing research and drug discovery efforts.

Dr. Garth Rapeport, Chief Executive Officer of RespiVert, who is remaining with RespiVert following the acquisition, said, “We believe that our focused discovery efforts in pulmonary disease offer a unique opportunity to bring completely new treatment options to patients who suffer from severe, chronic respiratory diseases including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, severe asthma and Cystic Fibrosis.”