At the heart of Johnson & Johnson’s (NYSE:JNJ) $6.5 billion acquisition of Momenta Pharmaceuticals in 2020 is a portfolio of drug candidates for immune-mediated diseases.
One of the promising compounds in the acquisition is nipocalimab, which Janssen sees as a potential “pipeline in a pathway.” Nipocalimab holds promise for an array of diseases, ranging from rheumatoid arthritis and lupus and rare diseases such as myasthenia gravis. In all, Janssen is testing the drug in ten rare diseases as well as in rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus.
When taken as a whole, rare diseases are not altogether rare, said Dr. Neely Mozaffarian, vice president and autoantibody pathway area leader at Janssen Immunology.
According to an analysis in the European Journal of Human Genetics, anywhere from 3.5% to 5.9% of the world’s population suffers from a rare disease, affecting 263–446 million people globally.