San Diego biotech Ichor Medical Systems stands to earn up to $85 million, plus royalties, if its new partnership with Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) Janssen hits the right notes. The companies announced plans this week to develop DNA vaccines for hepatitis B using Ichor's TriGrid electroporation technology for clinical administration.
The company's TriGrid device uses brief electrical pulses to alter cell membranes and allow DNA to enter cells. According to a release, the tech has been shown to "significantly enhance" immune responses to delivered vaccines compared to conventional injection.
DNA vaccines, though emerging, have seen limited efficacy in traditional injection. The vaccines generate antigen-specific antibodies and T cells that are key for a long-term resolution of hepatitis B, Ichor said in a statement. Through the partnership, the startup will receive an upfront payment, R&D support and development and sales milestone payments, plus potential royalties. Janssen will assume commercialization costs associated with the program plus manufacturing costs and distribution of the TriGrid system.
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