|News to warm the damaged heart|
The New Year is getting off to a very good start for one of our grantees. Capricor Therapeutics just announced that it has signed a $337.5 million collaboration agreement with Janssen Biotech, a division of pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson.
Just a few weeks ago Capricor got approval to move ahead with a Phase 2 clinical trial for its heart disease treatment. The stem cell agency is funding that trial through a $19.8 million Disease Team Award. The trial, due to start early this year, is designed to test a stem cell treatment on patients who have experienced a heart attack, to see if the treatment is both safe and produces a desired result, namely reducing scar tissue on the heart.
Janssen agreed to pay Capricor $12.5 million up front, and up to $325 million if Janssen exercises option rights, plus royalties on commercial sales of the stem cell treatment, should the Phase 2 trial be successful.
In a news release announcing the news, Capricor CEO Linda Marban, Ph.D., was understandably happy, saying:
"This collaboration with Janssen, one of the world's largest and most respected healthcare companies with a strong presence in cardiovascular and metabolism, is a tremendous milestone for Capricor Therapeutics and an important validation of our lead product, CAP-1002, and the underlying science,”Capricor is one of several programs we are funding that are either in or about to enter into clinical trials. We also keep track of all the projects we are funding and their progress towards approval.