Enigma Biomedical Group (EBG) has signed an agreement to assess novel neuroimaging biomarkers from Janssen Pharmaceutica, a part of Johnson & Johnson’s The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies.

According to the agreement, EBG will evaluate Janssen’s PET ligands and if the evaluations are favourable it can negotiate an exclusive license to each PET ligand.

JNJ-64413739, which targets the P2X7 receptor associated with neuroinflammation and the release of pro-inflammatory factors; and JNJ-64511070, which targets AMPA-TARP, a marker of postsynaptic plasticity; are the first two PET ligands set to be evaluated by the company.

The biomarkers are expected to offer new vital tools in the understanding of a range of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Enigma Biomedical Group president Lee-Anne Gibbs said: “This is another major step forward in enabling critical biomarker research into neurodegenerative diseases. Licensing the Janssen technology allows Enigma to continue to execute its overarching strategy to provide neuroimaging biomarkers to industry and academia to accelerate research in the understanding and treatment of these devastating diseases.”

The exclusive licence will enable the company to carry out clinical development and commercialisation of these neuroimaging biomarkers as diagnostic tools. In return, the company will pay licence fees, milestones and royalties on global sales of any future marketed products.

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Additionally, together with its partners Cerveau Technologies and Meilleur Technologies, EBG will work to expand partnerships in the pharmaceutical industry to apply these and future technologies for the development of neurodegenerative disease-modifying therapy.

Enigma Biomedical Group CEO and Cerveau Technologies president and CEO Rick Hiatt said: “At Enigma, we are focused on providing information and technologies to researchers and clinicians to enable the improvement of brain health.

“We are thrilled by this opportunity to work with Janssen to foster the development of these exciting technologies. Consistent with our vision, we will make these novel imaging agents and additional imaging biomarkers, which may develop from this and other collaborations, available to our pharmaceutical industry and academic partners, providing access to the broader scientific community.”

EBG and Janssen will partner with various members of the Enigma/Cerveau Technologies academic and pharmaceutical partner network in the initial stage of the evaluation to validate the preclinical and clinical efficacy of the biomarkers.