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11 Jan 2016

Scholar Rock announces option exercised by Janssen in immuno-oncology collaboration focused on supracellular activation

Company generates unique monoclonal antibodies that selectively inhibit the supracellular activation of latent TGF-beta 1 in the immune system.

Scholar Rock has announced that Janssen Biotech has exercised an option as part of the existing immuno-oncology modulator collaboration. Scholar Rock’s successful generation of antibodies that selectively inhibit the supracellular activation of the growth factor TGF-beta 1 in the immune system by targeting its supracellular activation represents a novel approach in immuno-oncology therapeutics, and triggered the decision.

Under the terms of the original collaboration agreement, facilitated by Johnson & Johnson Innovation and announced in January 2014, Scholar Rock granted Janssen options to obtain worldwide exclusive licenses to pursue development and commercialization of supracellular activation targeted therapeutics intended to selectively modulate TGF-beta 1 activation in the immune system.

“Starting with a novel pharmacological hypothesis, within two short years we have been able to discover drug candidates that represent a unique immuno-oncology opportunity,” said Nagesh Mahanthappa, President and CEO of Scholar Rock. “This key milestone, taken together with our own nomination this past September of SRK-015 as our first proprietary development candidate for the treatment of muscle diseases, clearly demonstrates the power and productivity of our supracellular activation platform.”

“Our foundation of Scholar Rock stemmed from unique structural biology insights into how growth factors are activated or kept latent in vivo that suggested novel therapeutic modalities. Indeed, Scholar Rock’s preclinical data suggests that disease can be treated earlier than previously thought possible, at the step before harmful growth factors are released. Moreover, we have now achieved this for two different growth factor programs, one proprietary and the other in our collaboration with Janssen,” said Timothy A. Springer, co-founder of Scholar Rock and Latham Family Professor at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Medicine at Children’s Hospital Boston. “Scholar Rock’s innovative supracellular activation platform is well on its way toward generating an entirely new class of therapeutics with novel mechanisms of action.”

The research collaboration between Scholar Rock and Janssen has been conceived to focus on the discovery and development of novel antibody therapeutics that modulate supracellular activation, and thereby selectively inhibit TGF-beta 1 in the immune system for immuno-oncology applications, or selectively activate TGF-beta 1 in the immune system for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. The collaboration between Scholar Rock and Janssen to identify supracellular activation targeted therapeutics for the treatment of autoimmune diseases is continuing.

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