Johnson & Johnson Innovation Announces Collaborations with Canadian Biotechs Novera Therapeutics, Inc. and enGene, Inc.

Agreements Seek New Treatments for Hematological Malignancies and Inflammatory Bowel Disease; Demonstrates Ongoing Commitment to Canadian Life Sciences Community

BOSTON, MA, USA I October 14, 2015 I Janssen Biotech, Inc. (Janssen), one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, today announced collaborations with two Canadian biotechnology companies, Toronto-based Novera Therapeutics, Inc. and Montreal-based enGene, Inc.  The agreements, facilitated by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, seek to advance novel therapeutics for the treatment of hematological malignancies and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

These agreements follow the recent announcement that Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS will be locating its first ex-U.S. incubator in Toronto.  JLABS @ Toronto will open in Spring 2016 and support regional entrepreneurs and start-up companies with lab space, programs, and potential investment partners as they work to build successful early-stage companies.

"Today we are announcing two significant collaborations that have the potential to improve treatment paradigms for patients with hematological malignancies and inflammatory bowel disease, respectively," said Robert G. Urban, Head, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Boston.  "At the same time, we continue to deepen our relationships with the strong Canadian biotech and life sciences community."

The agreement with Novera Therapeutics, Inc. is a collaboration that includes the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) together with University Health Network (UHN).  The agreement will allow Janssen to accelerate the development of promising small molecule drug candidates for hematological cancers. Novera, a new Ontario biotechnology company, will discover and develop novel therapeutic compounds identified through OICR's drug discovery program in partnership with UHN, and coordinate with Janssen under a collaboration, license option, and exclusive license agreement.  

"The recent successes in treating B cell malignancies highlight the urgent need for further innovations to improve outcomes for subsets of patients who benefit less from existing therapies," said Yusri Elsayed, MD, PhD, Head of the Oncology Hematological Malignancy Disease Area, Janssen Research & Development, LLC. "The collaboration with Novera, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, and University Health Network is focused on a novel approach to therapeutic intervention in B cell malignancies."

A separate agreement with enGene, Inc. allows for the development and commercialization of new therapies for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.  This strategic alliance provides Janssen with the option to exclusively license enGene's lead product candidate, EG-12, for gut-localized expression of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10.

"Within Immunology at Janssen, we are focused on driving continued innovation  in the treatment of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis," said Scott Plevy, Disease Area Leader, IBD, Janssen Research & Development, LLC.  "The collaboration with enGene, which allows for the delivery of gene products directly to the site of disease in the gut offers exciting potential for the future treatment of inflammatory bowel disease."

enGene and Janssen will jointly develop EG-12 through to clinical proof of mechanism in patients with IBD. Upon exercise of its option, Janssen will take over further clinical development and commercialization of EG-12 for all indications worldwide. The collaboration also allows Janssen to explore the therapeutic potential of enGene's platform to deliver a payload against one additional undisclosed target. 

About Johnson & Johnson Innovation
Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC is working to accelerate scientific innovation at all stages of development worldwide to deliver cutting-edge solutions that solve unmet needs for patients. Johnson & Johnson Innovation provides scientists, entrepreneurs and emerging companies with one-stop access to the broad resources of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies across the Pharmaceutical, Medical Devices and Consumer healthcare segments. This includes access to dealmakers, through the innovation centers located in global life science hot spots and Johnson & Johnson Innovation – Janssen Business Development; venture investment, through Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC; company incubation, through Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS; as well as R&D, manufacturing and commercialization expertise across all three segments. For more information, visit or follow @JNJInnovation.

About the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson
The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson are dedicated to addressing and solving the most important unmet medical needs of our time, including oncology (e.g., multiple myeloma and prostate cancer), immunology (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis), neuroscience (e.g., schizophrenia, dementia and pain), infectious disease (e.g., HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C and tuberculosis), and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases (e.g., diabetes).

Driven by our commitment to patients, we develop sustainable, integrated healthcare solutions by working side-by-side with healthcare stakeholders, based on partnerships of trust and transparency.  To learn more, visit

SOURCE: Johnson & Johnson Innovation

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