• Sustainability
  • DE&I
  • Pandemic
  • Finance
  • Legal
  • Technology
  • Regulatory
  • Global
  • Pricing
  • Strategy
  • R&D/Clinical Trials
  • Opinion
  • Executive Roundtable
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Executive Profiles
  • Leadership
  • Market Access
  • Patient Engagement
  • Supply Chain
  • Industry Trends

Johnson & Johnson Acquires Numab’s Investigational Antibody for the Treatment of Atopic Dermatitis


The acquisition of a novel therapy for atopic dermatitis includes an all-cash transaction totaling approximately $1.25 billion.

Close up dermatitis on the skin, ill allergic rash dermatitis eczema skin of a patient, atopic dermatitis symptom skin detail texture. Fungus of human skin. Image Credit: Adobe Stock Images/Ityuan

Image Credit: Adobe Stock Images/Ityuan

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) announced that it has agreed to terms with Numab Therapeutics to acquire its wholly owned subsidiary for the global rights to NM26, an investigational bispecific antibody currently in Phase II of development for the treatment of atopic dermatitis (AD). Under terms of the deal, J&J will pay Numab around $1.25 billion in an all-cash transaction. According to the company, the transaction is expected to close later this year, clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and fulfillment of customary closing conditions.

NM26 targets two established pathways, interleukin (IL)-4Rα and IL-31, in AD. According to investigators, this works by targeting IL-4Rα, which is responsible for Th2-mediated skin inflammation, and IL-31, which triggers skin itch and exacerbates AD. Additionally, NM26 has demonstrated promise in other inflammatory skin diseases characterized by Th2 inflammation and itch.1

“To deliver durable, symptom-free remission for the millions of people living with AD, our medicines need to be tailored to target multiple disease-driving pathways in different patient subpopulations,” said David Lee, global immunology therapeutic area head, Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine, in a press release. “That’s why we are committed to developing differentiated bispecifics that combine the targeting of two distinct disease-driving pathways. NM26 has the potential to deliver a treatment specifically for patients who have inflamed skin associated with intense itching.”

In May 2023, Numab announced that it had administered its first dose of NM26 as part of a Phase I trial. A combination of a single ascending dose (SAD) and a multiple ascending dose (MAD), the study included patients who weren’t Asian and Japanese healthy volunteers in the SAD sub-study and moderate-to-severe AD patients in the MAD sub-study, with support from Kaken Pharmaceutical.2

“It is an exciting milestone for Numab to initiate this study of NM26-2198, our first product candidate focused on the treatment of inflammatory conditions and our second multi-specific antibody therapeutic to advance to the clinic,” said David Urech, PhD, founder, CEO, Numab Therapeutics, in a press release. “Our team has leveraged our technology platforms to develop this novel, first-in-class bi-specific antibody therapeutic that is designed to deliver an earlier onset of efficacy and larger effect size than current standard of care in atopic dermatitis and other inflammatory conditions.”

According to the National Eczema Association, AD is the most common form of eczema, with over 9.6 million children and 16.5 million adults in the United States suffering from the condition. AD typically begins in childhood, with some cases getting worse with age while others tend to disappear as time goes on. The primary symptom of AD is itching, with 85% of those with the condition experiencing it daily. Additionally, skin can become dry, discolored, and can be prone to infections.3

“Our goal is to deliver transformational efficacy for all patients living with immune mediated diseases like AD,” said Candice Long, worldwide VP, Immunology, Johnson & Johnson, in the press release. “Our investment in differentiated bispecifics is the next chapter in our impactful Immunology legacy. It reinforces our commitment to address unmet medical needs by leveraging patient insights and our deep disease expertise.”


1. Johnson & Johnson to Obtain Rights to a Clinical-Stage Bispecific Antibody to Address Distinct Patient Needs in Atopic Dermatitis. Johnson & Johnson. May 28, 2024. Accessed May 28, 2024. https://www.jnj.com/media-center/press-releases/johnson-johnson-to-obtain-rights-to-a-clinical-stage-bispecific-antibody-to-address-distinct-patient-needs-in-atopic-dermatitis

2. Numab Therapeutics Announces First Subject Dosed in Phase 1 Clinical Study of NM26 Program. Numab. May 15, 2023. Accessed May 28, 2024. https://numab.com/wp-content/uploads/230514-Numab-Therapeutics-Announces-First-Subject-Dosed-NM26.pdf

3. Atopic Dermatitis. National Eczema Association. Accessed May 28, 2024. https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/types-of-eczema/atopic-dermatitis/?gclid=CjwKCAjwgdayBhBQEiwAXhMxtnNbqf7qCQJHaEHzrXXa10nsZU4_5VTfilRX-phz0i2qlgF2wA32NRoCIVYQAvD_BwE

Related Content