enGene announces strategic collaboration with Johnson & Johnson innovation to develop novel gene delivery products for inflammatory bowel disease

MONTREAL, Oct. 14, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - enGene, Inc. a gene therapy company focused on development of therapeutics using its proprietary "Gene Pill" and enema gene delivery platform, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Janssen Biotech, Inc., one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, to develop and commercialize new therapies for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Under the agreement, which was facilitated by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, enGene will receive an upfront payment, equity investment through Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. and R&D funding. Furthermore, enGene is eligible to receive various pre-clinical, clinical, regulatory and commercialization success-based milestone payments up to a total of C $441 million, plus tiered royalties on potential net sales of products.

The alliance leverages enGene's robust and proprietary non-viral vector platform for gene delivery to cells lining the intestine. enGene's vector system can be administered to the intestine via the oral or enema route. 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. 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 one additional undisclosed target. 

"We are thrilled to enter into this collaboration with Janssen and Johnson & Johnson Innovation because it will accelerate clinical development of our unique gene delivery platform for the gut," said Dr. Anthony Cheung, chief executive officer and a co-founder of enGene. "This alliance represents a significant opportunity for us to develop an entirely new class of transformative therapies for IBD and other diseases. Janssen is a leading, global biopharmaceutical company that has extensive experience and a long-standing track record of success in immunology and developing drugs for IBD.  We look forward to working closely with the team at Janssen and Johnson & Johnson Innovation." Dr. Cheung further added, "This strategic collaboration will also accelerate the development of enGene's gene delivery platform into an orally available 'Gene Pill', which offers the potential of being a game-changer by making oral delivery of protein drugs a reality."

About enGene, Inc.
enGene Inc. is a privately held biotechnology company developing a versatile, proprietary non-viral vector platform for gene delivery to mucosal cells lining the gut. The vector system can be administered to the intestine via the oral or enema route. enGene is developing its unique gene delivery formulation into an orally available "Gene Pill", which has the potential to be a platform for oral delivery of a wide range protein drugs. Its primary focus is targeting its technology to enable localize delivery of immune-modulating proteins to the gut for treating various immune disorders.



Image with caption: "Dr. Anthony Cheung, chief executive officer and a co-founder of enGene (CNW Group/enGene)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20151014_C7320_PHOTO_EN_519992.jpg

Image with caption: "Logo : enGene (CNW Group/enGene)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20151014_C7320_PHOTO_EN_520102.jpg

For further information: for reporters : enGene Inc., Dr. Anthony Cheung, President and CEO, Phone: 514 332-4888 ex. 204, Email: acheung@engeneinc.com

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