2 July 2009. Elan’s Alzheimer immunotherapy program (AIP) has gotten a booster. The company announced today that Johnson & Johnson has agreed to acquire all the assets of the program for an injection of $1 billion—the equivalent of ~18 percent of outstanding Elan ordinary shares. Through a new affiliate, Johnson & Johnson will continue the AIP in collaboration with Wyeth, and will also contribute $500 million for the development of bapineuzumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody against amyloidβ, the peptide found in senile plaques (see ARF related news story). Elan will own 49.9 percent of the new company according to a press release issued today.
Bapineuzumab is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials (see ARF related news story), and Elan has other immunotherapies for Alzheimer disease in the pipeline, including another monoclonal antibody AAB-001 and an Aβ vaccine (see ARF related news story). For more information on the new merger, see today’s New York Times.—Tom Fagan.