Company’s announcement latest in recent trend of significant investment in Montgomery County biohealth companies.
BeneVir Biopharm, Inc. (BeneVir), a privately-held Montgomery County biotech company, has entered into an agreement under which it will be acquired by Janssen Biotech, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company for up to $1.04 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, Janssen will make an upfront cash payment of $140 million at closing of the transaction, plus additional contingent payments of up to $900 million based on achievement of certain predetermined milestones. BeneVir was a client of BioHealth Innovation (BHI) from 2013 until its Series A investment in 2014.
BeneVir is developing an immunotherapy platform that harnesses viruses to infect and destroy cancer cells. The company’s T-Stealth™ technology allows its oncolytic viruses to “hide” from the body’s immune system so they can attack cancer cells without being destroyed by the body’s own defenses. The company plans to grow rapidly, adding a number of jobs as it continues to advance its immuno-oncology work at its facility in Rockville, Maryland. BeneVir is developing an immunotherapy platform that harnesses viruses to infect and destroy cancer cells. The company’s T-Stealth™ technology allows its oncolytic viruses to “hide” from the body’s immune system so they can attack cancer cells without being destroyed by the body’s own defenses. The company plans to grow rapidly, adding a number of jobs as it continues to advance its immuno-oncology work at its facility in Rockville, Maryland.
“BHI and Montgomery County have worked together for six years to support the county’s expanding BioHealth community by connecting companies to the resources they need to accelerate their growth,” commented Rich Bendis, CEO of BHI. “We are starting to see the fruits of that labor now, and are excited that Matt Mulvey and the BeneVir team will continue to contribute to Montgomery County’s economic vitality.”
“BeneVir proves that innovative Montgomery County companies attract investment and return value to their investors,” commented David Petr, President and CEO of Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation. HC2’s Pansend Life Sciences subsidiary made its initial investment in BeneVir in 2014, and currently owns approximately 76 percent of the company’s equity. “We are incredibly proud of the work Dr. Mulvey and the BeneVir team have done and will continue to do at Janssen, in addressing the needs of patients living with difficult-to-treat cancers,” said David A. Present M.D., founder and general partner of Pansend Life Sciences.
BeneVir will maintain and grow its research presence in Rockville as it becomes part of the Janssen Oncology Therapeutic Area. “Our goal at BeneVir has been to develop T-Stealth™ to help patients whose tumors do not respond to current therapeutic options including immune checkpoint inhibitors,” said Matt Mulvey, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Executive Officer of BeneVir. “We are excited to join the Janssen team and continue to innovate in the field of oncolytic viral immunotherapy.”
BeneVir, founded in 2011, received support early on from BioHealth Innovation’s (BHI) team including its Entrepreneur-in-Residence program. BHI has supported the commercialization of biohealth assets and industry growth in Montgomery County since 2012, and works with the County to attract investment to the many innovative companies in Montgomery County which is the hub of the BioHealth Capital Region. BeneVir is the latest of many firms within the County announcing significant investment and expansion. This trend includes companies such as Altimmune, American Gene Technologies, Emergent Biosolutions, Immunomic Therapeutics, Supernus Pharmaceuticals, and Viela Bio (a recent spin-out of MedImmune-AstraZeneca).
About BioHealth Innovation
BioHealth Innovation, Inc. (BHI) is a public-private nonprofit organization focused on accelerating technology transfer and commercialization. BHI’s early stage company support includes the development of commercialization plans, market research, promotion, non-diluted funding application assistance, introductions to investors, strategic partners, business advisors, and potential clients. BHI also manages wet lab and office incubator space for early stage companies in Montgomery County, provides soft-landing support for international companies, and works with partners to host the annual BioHealth Capital Region (Maryland, DC and Virginia) CEO Forum and an annual (beginning fall 2018) BioHealth Capital Region Investor Conference. For more information: www.BioHealthInnovation.org
The Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) is the lead public-private economic development organization for Montgomery County, Md. The organization was created in 2016 to help businesses start, grow and exceed expectations by helping them gain access to top talent, business and market intelligence and prime locations. For more information, visit our website at thinkmoco.com. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.