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12:00 AM
 | 
Jun 07, 2010
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

J&J's Pulmonary Push

J&J doubles disclosed respiratory pipeline in deals with RespiVert, Orexo

In a pair of deals last week, Johnson & Johnson doubled the number of compounds in its disclosed pipeline for respiratory diseases from four to eight, and it sounds like the pharma is still shopping.

J&J's Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc. unit acquired RespiVert Ltd., a private U.K. company with two lead compounds in preclinical development for asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cystic fibrosis (CF). Separately, Orexo AB granted J&J's Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Janssen Pharmaceutica N.V. subsidiaries exclusive, worldwide rights to develop and commercialize two compounds to treat asthma, COPD and other inflammatory conditions.

Centocor Ortho Biotech spokesman Brian Kenney told BioCentury the company remains "committed to accessing the best science globally."

The RespiVert acquisition provides a portfolio of first-in-class, inhaled, narrow-spectrum kinase inhibitors, including RV-568 and RV-1088. RV-568 is scheduled to enter Phase I trials this year, while RV-1088 is expected to start Phase I in 2011.

While neither company has disclosed the targets, RespiVert's scientific founders Peter Barnes and Kazuhiro Ito have focused their research on molecular pathways involved in corticosteroid resistance thought to be relevant in inflammation. Resistance to the anti-inflammatory actions of corticosteroids is a critical feature of COPD...

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