Johnson & Johnson Set to Acquire Ambrx Biopharma for $2 Billion

Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Ambrx Biopharma Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company specializing in next-generation antibody drug conjugates (ADCs). The deal, valued at $2 billion, will enhance Johnson & Johnson's capabilities in the design and development of targeted oncology therapeutics.

Ambrx's proprietary synthetic biotechnology platform is focused on advancing a portfolio of clinical and preclinical programs, notably including ARX517 for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), ARX788 for metastatic HER2+ breast cancer, and ARX305 for renal cell carcinoma. These programs aim to optimize the efficacy and safety of therapeutics through innovative ADC technology.

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Yusri Elsayed, Global Therapeutic Area Head, Oncology, Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine, expressed enthusiasm for Ambrx's ADC technology, citing its unique advantages in conjugating stable antibodies and cytotoxic linker payloads. Elsayed sees promising potential in ARX517 as a first- and best-in-class targeted therapy for aggressive mCRPC, with the acquisition presenting exciting opportunities for future precision biologics to transform cancer treatment.

The acquisition aligns with Johnson & Johnson's commitment to oncology innovation and prostate cancer research. The company plans to collaborate with Ambrx researchers, accelerating the Phase 1/2 APEX-01 study of ARX517 in advanced prostate cancer while progressing a pipeline of novel ADC product candidates. Margaret Yu, Prostate Cancer Disease Area Leader at Johnson & Johnson, emphasized the significant unmet need in treating mCRPC, expressing the intention to harness Ambrx's ADC platform to deliver a targeted PSMA therapeutic.

Ambrx, spun out of The Scripps Research Institute in 2003, has pioneered expanded genetic code technology for incorporating synthetic amino acids into proteins, enabling the development of precision biologics with site-specific, homogenous, and stable conjugation. This breakthrough addresses limitations of traditional conjugation technologies.

The acquisition follows Johnson & Johnson's recent submission of a supplemental Biologics License Application and New Drug Application to the FDA for RYBREVANT (amivantamab-vmjw) Plus Lazertinib, seeking approval for the treatment of patients with EGFR-mutated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

As Johnson & Johnson looks to expand its footprint in the oncology space, the acquisition of Ambrx positions the company to further advance its mission of delivering innovative and targeted therapies to improve patient outcomes. The strategic move underscores the pharmaceutical giant's ongoing commitment to addressing critical unmet needs in cancer treatment through groundbreaking research and development initiatives.