2020-08-20| M&A

Johnson & Johnson to Acquire Momenta Pharmaceutical Inc. for $6.5 Billion

by Rajaneesh K. Gopinath
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After Gilead’s acquisition of Forty Seven Inc. and Sanofi’s grab of Principia Biopharma, J&J announces plans to acquire Cambridge-based Momenta Pharmaceutical Inc. for expanding leadership in the novel treatments for autoimmune diseases in an all-cash deal.

By Judy Ya-Hsuan Lin

On August 19th, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) announced a definitive agreement to acquire Momenta Pharmaceutical Inc. that includes full global rights to nipocalimab. This is one of the largest pharmaceutical acquisitions of the year amidst the coronavirus crisis. The transaction is expected to be completed in the second half of 2020. Until then, Momenta will continue to operate as an independent company.

Despite the pandemic, J&J’s subsidiary Janssen continued to pursue novel treatments across many autoimmune diseases with substantial unmet need, such as rheumatology, dermatology, maternal-fetal disorders, neuro-inflammatory disorders, and autoimmune hematology. According to statistics, around 2.5% of the population, or 195 million people worldwide, suffer from some form of the autoantibody-driven disease. The involvement of nipocalimab, a clinically validated anti-FcRn antibody hinged upon Momenta’s expertise in FcRn mechanisms and received a rare pediatric disease designation from the USFDA. The efficacy of nipocalimab was already proven in a Phase 2 trial in patients with myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disorder, and an autoantibody-driven disease earlier this year.

“Nipocalimab, and the rest of Momenta’s pipeline, built over many years by outstanding scientists who have turned important insights into actionable biology, expands and complements our portfolio by giving us clinical-stage and discovery-stage compounds in autoantibody biological pathways. Combining Momenta’s discoveries with our 20-year heritage in immunology, global scope, and scientific and medical expertise, we see a real opportunity to create an entire ‘pipeline in a pathway.” Mathai Mammen, M.D., Ph.D., Global Head of Janssen Research & Development, J&J. “We are excited about the significant potential to expand on Momenta’s excellent progress in rare diseases, and to increase our impact on patients both within and beyond our current focus areas.”

The inclusion of nipocalimab cost J&J $52.50 per share in cash and demanded a differentiation of the company’s assets from other similar drugs. J&J is also cooperating with Argenx on developing FcRn drug, efgartigimod for patients with ITP and myasthenia gravis, and currently enrolling a Phase 3 trial for seeking FDA approval by the end of 2020 potentially, but J&J considers nipocalimab as competitively differentiated because of its efficacy and convenience.

“This acquisition broadens Janssen’s leadership in autoimmune diseases and provides us with a major catalyst for sustained growth. Autoantibody-driven diseases are often serious, and patients are underserved by current treatment options. We are excited by the opportunity to further advance patient care by combining Johnson & Johnson’s world-class R&D, commercial and supply chain capabilities with Momenta’s talented people, pipeline and deep expertise in this important area.” said Jeniffer Taubert, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals, J&J.

Editor: Rajaneesh K. Gopinath, Ph.D.

Related Article: Sanofi Advances in Multiple Sclerosis Market with Principia Acquisition Deal



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