Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACHN) announced today that it has entered into a worldwide license and collaboration arrangement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Janssen), one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, to develop and commercialize one or more of Achillion’s lead hepatitis C virus (HCV) assets which include ACH-3102, ACH-3422, and sovaprevir.
“We are excited to collaborate with Janssen for the worldwide development of our HCV assets in combination with their HCV portfolio. We believe that Janssen’s renowned expertise in HCV development and commercialization enables a synergistic opportunity to rapidly advance our combined HCV assets toward the market while simultaneously achieving an optimized treatment regimen for all HCV patients,” said Milind Deshpande, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Achillion. “Furthermore, we believe that their investment in Achillion through Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC allows us to maximize the value from our HCV portfolio and also positions us to become a leader in complement factor D inhibition, applying our broad platform to a wide number of complement-related diseases. We believe this strategy provides an ideal scenario to create further value for our shareholders.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Achillion will grant Janssen an exclusive, worldwide license to develop and, upon regulatory approval, commercialize HCV products and regimens containing one or more of Achillion’s HCV assets. Achillion is eligible to receive a number of payments based upon achievement of specified development, regulatory and sales milestones. Achillion is also eligible to receive tiered royalty percentages between mid-teens and low-twenties based upon future worldwide sales. Janssen will be responsible for all of the development costs within the collaboration and all subsequent costs related to commercialization of the HCV assets.
A key objective of the collaboration will be to develop a short-duration, highly effective, pan-genotypic, oral regimen for the treatment of HCV. An initial regimen that will be explored will feature Achillion’s ACH-3102, a second-generation NS5A inhibitor currently in Phase 2 clinical studies that has been granted Fast Track designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in combination with an NS3/4A HCV protease inhibitor plus an NS5B HCV polymerase inhibitor from the collaboration.
Additionally, in an equity transaction separate to the exclusive license and collaboration arrangement, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. will invest $225 million in Achillion and, in return, receive approximately 18.4 million newly issued, unregistered shares of Achillion at a price of $12.25 per share.
The transactions, including the equity sale, are subject to customary closing conditions, including termination or expiration of any applicable waiting periods under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act. Transitional clinical development and technology transfer activities under the collaboration are expected to take place over the next several months. (Original Source)
Shares of Achillion Pharmaceuticals closed today at $10.685, down $0.345 or 3.13%. ACHN has a 1-year high of $16.87 and a 1-year low of $2.64. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $9.84 and its 200-day moving average is $11.99.
On the ratings front, Achillion has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on March 10, Maxim Group analyst Jason Kolbert reiterated a Buy rating on ACHN, with a price target of $19, which represents a potential upside of 79.2% from where the stock is currently trading. Separately, on March 3, Barclays’ Geoff Meacham initiated coverage with a Sell rating on the stock and has a price target of $8.
According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Jason Kolbert and Geoff Meacham have a total average return of 0.2% and 33.0% respectively. Kolbert has a success rate of 41.3% and is ranked #2316 out of 3606 analysts, while Meacham has a success rate of 80.0% and is ranked #104.
Achillion Pharmaceuticals Inc is a biopharmaceutical company which focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of treatments for infectious diseases likehepatitis C virus, or HCV, infection that are once-daily and ribavirin-free.