Geron Licenses Experimental Myelofibrosis Drug to Johnson & Johnson

Geron's (GERN) experimental myelofibrosis drug imetelstat will be co-developed by Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) under a global partnership agreement announced Thursday.

J&J is paying $35 million upfront to Geron for rights to the drug. The two companies will share development costs equally though Geron is eligible for another $900 million in payments based on future development and regulatory milestones. If imetelstat is approved, Geron will receive royalties from J&J based on the drug's sales. 

Geron shares were halted at $2.31 ahead of the partnership announcement.

You can read more details about the terms of the Geron-J&J partnership in the company's 8-K, but to sum it up, J&J is making a conservative bet on imetelstat and doesn't have to commit fully until the drug generates more positive data. Starting in the middle of next year, Geron and J&J will conduct a larger phase II study of imetelstat in myelofibrosis patients. J&J will use results from that study to make a go/no-go decision on funding further development of the drug.

Updated results from a earlier phase II study of imetelstat in myelofibrosis were disclosed last week.


Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

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