Midatech has announced an extension of the Q-Sphera R&D Collaboration (‘the Collaboration’) that was originally detailed on 21 July 2020, while also disclosing that the previously unnamed party is, in fact, Janssen Pharmaceutica NV (‘Janssen’), the Belgium-based pharmaceutical arm of the world’s largest and most broadly-based healthcare company, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ).
Today’s news follows Midatech’s 17 June 2021 announcement that it had successfully encapsulated a proprietary Janssen experimental large molecule medicine while preserving its functional integrity. Considering no other commercial or academic organisation has been able to deliver any such experimental medicine over extended periods using methods capable of commercial scaling, Janssen’s decision to extend the Collaboration clearly reflects very positively on the potential of Q-Sphera’s technology in the delivery of active pharmaceutical ingredients (‘API’) via long-acting injectables. Midatech will now focus on maximising drug loading and optimising in vitro duration of release while utilising the technology.
While this is the next of what is likely to become many more development steps requiring successful completion before a commercial opportunity presents itself, it is worth reflecting on the fact that the global monoclonal antibody (‘mAb’) market was valued at a giant US$154bn in 2020. Recognising that beyond Janssen there are large number of candidates, both on market and under development, that could benefit from this advance in technology, satisfying not only the need for sustained release but also local/targeted delivery, translation of biologics as long-acting formulations offer the potential for blockbuster opportunities. From these, Midatech could generate not only substantial fees/extended royalties but also build significantly on its reputation for innovation.
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