Company news: Licensepalooza -- Janssen/Evotec, AstraZeneca/Link Medicine, Eisai/Verastem

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J&J's Janssen unit inked a deal with Evotec AG and Harvard University to license a portfolio of diabetes drugs and biologics designed to trigger the regeneration of insulin-producing beta cells. Under the terms of the deal, Janssen gets exclusive access to the candidates, identified by scientists in a Harvard University lab and further developed by Evotec under the CureBeta collaboration, for an upfront payment of $8 million and milestone payments of up to $300 million per product, plus royalties on sales.

AstraZeneca acquired a portfolio of neuroscience candidates from Link Medicine Corp., a privately-held Massachusetts-based biopharma. Link Medicine focuses on autophagy, aimed at clearing and recycling misfolded proteins in neurodegernative diseases including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. The portfolio will be handled by AstraZeneca's new neuroscience Innovative Medicines Unit, established earlier this year. AstraZeneca will assume all R&D activities on the program in exchange for undisclosed upfront and milestone payments.

Eisai is betting on a class of cancer drugs dubbed Wnt inhibitors, having sealed a deal with Cambridge biopharma Verastem for a 12-month collaboration on the products, including VS-507, an agent designed for targeted killing of cancer stem cells.
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