Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has agreed to acquire Momenta Pharmaceuticals, a developer of therapies for immune-mediated diseases, in an all cash transaction for around $6.5bn.

The acquisition is expected to enable J&J’s pharmaceutical business Janssen to expand its operations in immune-mediated diseases and autoantibody-driven diseases.

Under the terms of the transaction, Johnson & Johnson will establish a new fully-owned subsidiary, dubbed Vigor Sub, which will purchase all outstanding shares of Momenta at a price of $52.50 per share, in cash.

Johnson & Johnson executive vice president and chairman Jennifer Taubert said: “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’re 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.”

Transaction includes rights to Momenta Pharmaceutical’s anti-FcRn antibody nipocalimab

The transaction includes exclusive global rights to nipocalimab (M281), a clinically validated anti-FcRn antibody, that recently received the FDA rare paediatric disease designation.

Momenta’s expertise in FcRn mechanisms would support the development of a medicine that targets various autoantibody-driven conditions across several of Janssen’s established therapeutic areas.

Nipocalimab is expected to enable Janssen to reach more patients through indications across various autoimmune diseases with unmet medical need such as in maternal-fetal disorders, neuro-inflammatory disorders, rheumatology, dermatology and autoimmune hematology.

Apart from the Momenta’s employees and lead asset nipocalimab, Janssen will acquire Momenta’s pipeline of clinical and pre-clinical assets, and intends to retain Momenta’s presence in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The transaction is expected to be completed, subject to the approval under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and other customary closing conditions, in the second half of 2020.

Janssen research and development global head Mathai Mammen said: “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. 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.”