OICR, UHN, Novera Therapeutics Announce Collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Innovation on Drug Discovery and Development for Haematological Cancers

Research Collaboration and Option and License Agreement Reach Approximately $450 Million Cdn

TORONTO, Oct. 14, 2015 /CNW/ - The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research ("OICR") together with Novera Therapeutics Inc., ("Novera") have announced a collaboration with Janssen Biotech, LLC ("Janssen"), a Pharmaceutical company of Johnson & Johnson, to accelerate the development of promising small molecule drug candidates for haematological cancers. Novera, a new Ontario biotechnology company, will discover and develop novel therapeutic compounds identified through OICR's drug discovery program in partnership with University Health Network's ("UHN") enabling technology and disease area biology, and coordinate the collaboration with Janssen under a collaboration, license option, and exclusive license agreement (the "agreement").   

Under the agreement, facilitated by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Novera will receive an upfront payment and is eligible to receive various pre-clinical, clinical, regulatory and commercialization success-based milestone payments up to a total of approximately $450 million Cdn, plus tiered royalties on potential net sales of products.  Janssen has been granted an exclusive option to license, for all human uses worldwide, candidate drug(s) that have been identified and will be advanced through the collaboration.  Janssen will assume responsibility for subsequent pre-clinical, clinical and commercial development once it exercises its option.

As a translational research institute OICR identifies, funds and supports oncology innovations with a goal of improving clinical practice. Leveraging the extensive and renowned research community within Ontario, OICR assembles and coordinates the intellectual resources, management and expertise needed to drive anti-cancer discoveries from bench to bedside.  Novera was established by FACIT, OICR's commercialization partner, to advance the therapeutics against molecular targets in difficult-to-treat hematological malignancies.

The announced agreement with Janssen is another important example that builds on the translational mandate and vision of OICR, FACIT and Ontario's Ministry of Research and Innovation ("MRI").

"Janssen is an excellent partner for this exciting program and we welcome the opportunity to leverage their distinguished development expertise in haematological cancers.  Patients in Ontario and worldwide will benefit from this collaborative and innovative model for translational research," said Tom Hudson, President of OICR.

"We are pleased with the remarkable achievements of OICR, UHN and FACIT and their continued efforts to translate breakthrough research from the lab to the marketplace. An expanded presence of a health industry leader like Janssen in Ontario — combined with our world-class scientific research — is essential for the province to stay at the forefront of innovation for the benefit of patients and our economy," said Reza Moridi, Minister of MRI. 

"As a worldwide leader in developing breakthrough medicines, Janssen is an ideal partner and an excellent fit with our plan to bring the commercial strengths and experience of multinational pharmaceutical companies to support oncology innovations arising in the Province," remarked Jeff Courtney, FACIT's Chief Commercial Officer. "Janssen's commitment to this program is indicative of the calibre of innovation driving OICR's Drug Discovery initiatives."

About OICR
OICR is an innovative cancer research and development institute dedicated to prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The Institute is an independent, not-for-profit corporation, supported by the Government of Ontario. OICR and its funding partners support research programs that involve more than 1,700 investigators, clinician scientists, research staff and trainees in research institutes and in universities across the Province of Ontario as well as at its headquarters. OICR has key research program efforts underway in small molecules, biologics, stem cells, imaging, genomics, informatics and bio-computing. For more information, please visit the website at www.oicr.on.ca.

About FACIT
FACIT (Fight Against Cancer Innovation Trust) is an independent business entity established by the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR)  to undertake and accelerate development and commercialization activities related to breakthrough cancer research, products and drug discovery from OICR and throughout Ontario. For more information, please visit the website at facit.ca or email info@facit.ca.               

About University Health Network
University Health Network consists of Toronto General and Toronto Western Hospitals, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. The scope of research and complexity of cases at University Health Network has made it a national and international source for discovery, education and patient care. It has the largest hospital-based research program in Canada, with major research in cardiology, transplantation, neurosciences, oncology, surgical innovation, infectious diseases, genomic medicine and rehabilitation medicine. University Health Network is a research hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto. www.uhn.ca.  

About Novera Therapeutics Inc.   
Novera Therapeutics Inc. is a biotherapeutics company focused on developing and commercializing therapies that improve patient outcomes in difficult-to-treat cancers. Established by the Fight Against Cancer Innovation Trust (FACIT), Novera's drug candidates are derived from discoveries, research and innovations originating from the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) and Toronto's University Health Network (UHN). For more information, please email info@facit.ca.

SOURCE Fight Against Cancer Innovation Trust

Image with caption: "Fight Against Cancer Innovation Trust (CNW Group/Fight Against Cancer Innovation Trust)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20151014_C7499_PHOTO_EN_520456.jpg

Image with caption: "Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (CNW Group/Fight Against Cancer Innovation Trust)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20151014_C7499_PHOTO_EN_520458.jpg

For further information: David O'Neill PhD, FACIT, Vice President, Business Development, Novera Therapeutics, Director, O: 647-260-7973, david.oneill@facit.ca; Christopher Needles, OICR, Manager, Strategic Communications, O: 416-673-8505, christopher.needles@oicr.on.ca, Jane Finlayson, UHN, Senior Public Affairs Advisor, O: 416-946-2846, jane.finlayson@uhn.ca

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