Date: 2019-04-24

Type of information: Milestone

Compound: ARO-HBV and up to three additional RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics

Company: Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals (USA - CA) Janssen Pharmaceutical, a J&J Company (USA)

Therapeutic area: Infectious diseases

Type agreement: licensing - research

Action mechanism:

  • RNAi. ARO-HBV silences all HBV gene products and intervenes upstream of the reverse transcription process where current standard-of-care nucleotide and nucleoside analogues act. A phase 1/2 study (AROHBV1001) is currently going to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetic effects of single-ascending doses (SAD) of ARO-HBV in healthy adult volunteers, as well as the safety, tolerability, and pharmacodynamic effects of multiple-ascending doses (MAD) of ARO-HBV in patients with chronic HBV. Dosing in the SAD portion of the study is complete and included five cohorts at dose levels of 35, 100, 200, 300, and 400 mg. Dosing in the MAD portion of the study is ongoing and includes cohorts receiving three doses of ARO-HBV either weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.

Disease: hepatitis B


  • • On October 4, 2018, Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals announced that it entered into a license and collaboration agreement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals to develop and commercialize ARO-HBV. In addition, Arrowhead entered into a research collaboration and option agreement with Janssen to potentially collaborate for up to three additional RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics against new targets to be selected by Janssen.
  • Under the agreement, Janssen receives a worldwide exclusive license to the ARO-HBV program, Arrowhead’s third-generation subcutaneously administered RNAi therapeutic candidate being developed as a potentially curative therapy for patients with chronic hepatitis B virus infection. Beyond AROHBV1001, Arrowhead’s ongoing Phase 1/2 study of ARO-HBV, Janssen will be wholly responsible for clinical development and commercialization.
  • Janssen can also select up to three new targets, against which Arrowhead will develop clinical candidates. These potential new candidates will leverage Arrowhead’s proprietary TRiM™ platform, and do not include Arrowhead’s current pipeline. Arrowhead will perform discovery, optimization, and preclinical development, entirely funded by Janssen, sufficient to allow the filing of a U.S. Investigational New Drug application or equivalent, at which time Janssen will have the option to take an exclusive license. If the option is exercised, Janssen will be wholly responsible for clinical development and commercialization.
  • The closing of the transactions is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended, and is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2018.

Financial terms:

  • The transactions have a combined potential value of over $3.7 billion for Arrowhead. Under the terms of the agreement, Arrowhead will receive $175 million as an upfront payment. Separately, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. (JJDC) will make a $75 million equity investment in Arrowhead at a price of $23.00 per share of Arrowhead common stock.
  • Arrowhead is eligible to receive up to approximately $1.6 billion in milestone payments for the HBV license agreement, including a $50 million milestone payment linked to a Phase 2 study. Arrowhead is also eligible to receive approximately $1.9 billion in option and milestone payments for the collaboration agreement related to up to three additional targets. Arrowhead is further eligible to receive tiered royalties up to mid teens on product sales.

Latest news:

  • • On April 24, 2019, Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals announced that it has begun dosing in a new triple combination cohort (cohort 12) that includes JNJ-3989 (formerly ARO-HBV) and additional undisclosed agents selected by Janssen Pharmaceuticals in its ongoing Phase 1/2 study (AROHBV1001) in patients with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV). In connection with the start of this new cohort, Arrowhead has earned a $25 million milestone payment from Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

Is general: Yes