Janssen ventures into antithrombin antibody-based drugs

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Janssen Pharmaceuticals acquired a university spinout company that develops an antithrombin antibody, adding another potential therapy to its portfolio.

Janssen makes the novel oral anticoagulant rivaroxaban (Xarelto), a factor Xa inhibitor that received FDA approved in 2012 as a treatment for deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism and to reduce the risk of recurrences. The drug previously was cleared in the U.S. to reduce the risk of stroke in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation.

Janssen purchased XO1 Limited, a biopharmaceutical company that developed the antithrombin antibody ichorcumab. Researchers from Addenbrooke Hospital and Cambridge University in the U.K. invented and designed the drug, which is a recombinant human antibody that targets thrombin. Unlike other anticoagulants, ichorcumab is said to provide anticoagulation properties yet not increase the risk of bleeding.

Neither Janssen nor X01 disclosed financial terms for the deal. Johnson & Johnson Innovation in London facilitated in agreement. Janssen Pharmaceuticals is a Johnson & Johnson company.