Johnson & Johnson acquires eczema drug developer Yellow Jersey for nearly $1.25B

Johnson & Johnson's new logo.

New Brunswick-based Johnson & Johnson announced Thursday that it acquired Yellow Jersey Therapeutics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Numab, for nearly $1.25 billion.

Yellow Jersey holds the rights to the drug called NM26, a bispecific that targets IL-4 receptors and IL-31 and has the potential to be a first-in-class therapy for atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema.

“NM26 is designed to help different subpopulations of patients by targeting two disease-driving pathways, which is key when treating a heterogeneous disease like AD,” said David Lee, global immunology therapeutic area head, Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine. “We are excited about the potential this represents to transform the standard of care for AD, as well as other inflammatory skin diseases involving Th2 inflammation and itch.”

AD is the most common inflammatory skin disease. It causes itching and inflammation, which are made worse by scratching. It can lead to increased risk of skin infections, skin pain, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, stress, depression and even an increased risk of suicide.

“Nearly three-quarters of people with AD are not achieving remission with currently available treatments. The unmet need is high, and we must do better for patients,” said Candice Long, worldwide vice president, immunology, Johnson & Johnson. “Our investment in NM26, and other bispecific antibodies, is another important step towards our mission of durable, symptom-free remission for all patients living with immune-mediated diseases.”