Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has announced it will be acquiring Proteologix in a deal worth $850m, as well as gaining access to its atopic dermatitis (AD) treatments.

Expected to close mid-year 2024, the acquisition will expand J&J’s dermatology portfolio, while addressing significant unmet needs in AD.

Currently the most common inflammatory skin disease globally, affecting more than 100 million adults worldwide, AD is a condition that causes the skin to become itchy, dry and cracked.

Under the terms of the agreement, J&J will pay a cash payment of $850m, with the potential for additional milestone payments, and will gain access to the biotechnology company’s two AD treatments, PX128 and PX130.

In addition, the acquisition will provide J&J with other bispecific antibody programmes with applications across a variety of other diseases.

Ready to enter phase 1 development for AD and asthma, PX128 is a bispecific antibody that targets IL-13 type 2 cell-mediated skin inflammation – an important driver of disease in AD and asthma – plus thymic stromal lymphoietin (TSLP), an epithelial cell-derived cytokine that mediates tissue inflammation in both conditions.

Currently in preclinical development, PX130 is a bispecific antibody that targets IL-13 and IL-22, which works to restore the skin barrier and prevent inflammation from environmental triggers such as allergens.

David Lee, global immunology therapeutic area head, J&J Innovative Medicine, commented: “We see an opportunity for best-in-disease efficacy for both PX128 and PX130 as each bispecific antibody targets two different combinations of disease-driving pathways that are mediating the skin inflammation in heterogenous subpopulations of AD patients.”

Candice Long, worldwide vice president, immunology, J&J, said: “We plan to continue expanding our reach and impact for people living with a wide variety of immune-mediated diseases, leveraging more targeted options for them to reach durable, symptom-free remission.”