3-Dimensional Pharmaceuticals Inc. (3DP) sold the worldwide rights to its orally active direct thrombin inhibitor program, 3DP-4815, to Centocor Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.
The anticoagulant compound currently is in Phase I clinical development and is expected to be on the market in about five years, said Bill Newbould, manager of corporate communications for Malvern, Pa.-based Centocor. The company anticipates entering Phase II trials sometime in 2002.
3DP initiated Phase I clinical trials last January and to date, "3DP-4815 exhibits good safety and tolerability characteristics," said Scott Horvitz, vice president of finance and administration for Exton, Pa.-based 3DP.
Under terms of the agreement, 3DP will receive an up-front cash payment of $6 million from Centocor, and further payments of up to $44 million based on the achievement of certain milestones for the first compound developed and approved for marketing for any indication. 3DP will receive additional milestone payments for subsequent indications approved for the first product, and for a second product should one be developed and approved. Also, 3DP will receive royalties on sales of any resulting products.
Centocor will be responsible for development and worldwide commercialization of all compounds under the agreement. For the deep-vein thrombosis indication, 3DP retains an option to co-develop and co-promote with Centocor in the United States. The two companies also will collaborate on a research program to continue 3DP's effort to design and elucidate back-up and follow-on compounds to 3DP-4815.
"Obviously we see this as a great deal for 3DP. The retention of the co-promotion rights for deep-vein thrombosis for us is a real win because it means we retain downstream commercialization rights in conjunction with Centocor J&J," said Graham Brazier, 3DP's senior vice president of corporate development. "When I looked at the deal we struck with these guys - it is very good - it is good for them and extremely good for 3DP from a commercial perspective and from a retention of rights perspective."
Brazier said 3DP selected Centocor to purchase the rights "for a number of reasons. Clearly, J&J is one of the major pharma companies in the world today and they have great experience in doing large development programs such as would be required for a direct thrombin inhibitor and a lot of experience in small-molecule drug development. Another unique feature is that Centocor has a lot of experience developing cardiovascular agents."
The experience in developing cardiovascular products led Centocor into the agreement with 3DP.
Newbould said 3DP-4815 will complement Centocor's other cardiovascular products - ReoPro, Retavase and Fragmin.
3DP-4815 will be Centocor's first oral cardiovascular product, while Fragmin is injected and the other two are infused, Newbould said.
It is estimated that more than 5 million people in the United States are treated each year for thrombotic conditions associated with heart attack, stroke, unstable angina, pulmonary embolism, bypass surgery, angioplasty, atrial fibrillation and venous thrombosis associated with surgical procedures.
Centocor, purchased by New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson in October 1999, develops its products primarily through monoclonal antibody technology.
3DP, a post-genomics drug discovery company, raised $75 million in its initial public offering in August. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 7, 2000.)
The company has a collaborative agreement to discover, refine and develop small-molecule drugs for genetic targets with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., of Princeton, N.J. 3DP also has an agreement with DuPont Pharmaceuticals Co., of Wilmington, Del., to help discover drugs for specific targets. DuPont also has a nonexclusive license to 3DP's DirectedDiversity technology, which integrates computer-controlled rational drug design with combinatorial chemistry. (See BioWorld Today, July 12, 2000, and Feb. 16, 2000.)
3DP's stock (NASDAQ:DDDP) closed Tuesday at $15.125, up 31.25 cents.