Potential first-in-class treatment is just about to enter clinical trials

Janssen Biotech, one of the pharmaceutical subsidiaries of Johnson & Johnson, has entered a worldwide licensing agreement with Protagonist Therapeutics for rights to its experimental inflammatory bowel disease candidate PTG-200.

The deal is heavily dependent on the molecule’s performance, with a $50 million (£39 million) payment up front, followed by milestone payments of up to $940 million as the treatment progresses through clinical trials and development, and royalties on any eventual sales.

The molecule is an orally available, peptide-based inhibitor of interleukin-23, which is implicated in inflammatory conditions including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.