Janssen pays upper GI bill to Depomed for AcuForm tech

Janssen Pharmaceutica, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, has bought nonexclusive rights to use Depomed's AcuForm drug delivery technology for use in combination therapy. AcuForm contains "unique swelling polymers" that allow tablets to remain in the stomach for eight to nine hours for steady delivery to the upper gastrointestinal tract. This would allow greater efficacy, in addition to the convenience of once or twice daily dosing.

Depomed says that, in addition to the benefits of decreased dosing and less irritation of the lower GI region, large pharmaceutical companies might want to pay attention because it can provide differentiation to already approved therapeutics. This makes AcuForm a potentially attractive option for companies interested in developing improved formulations of off-patent drugs, the company says on its website.

Carl Pelzel, Depomed's president and CEO, said that this Janssen deal is further proof that big pharma is indeed interested. "We are excited that we have been able to close our third licensing deal with a big pharma partner within the last two years," Pelzel says to InPharmaTechnologist.

Janssen paid Depomed $5 million upfront for the AcuForm license and promises another $5 million if Depomed will help with formulation work.

- read about it in InPharmaTechnologist