AbbVie snaps up antibody developer DJS

Oct. 21, 2022

AbbVie has announced the acquisition of UK-based DJS Antibodies, picking up a preclinical fibrotic disease asset and an antibody discovery platform in the deal.

Per the agreement, AbbVie will hand over approximately $255 million in cash for the small biotech dedicated to discovering and developing antibody medicines that target difficult-to-drug disease-causing proteins, such as G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). 

AbbVie will gain control of DJS's lead program — DJS-002 — a potential first-in-class lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) receptor 1 (LPAR1) antagonist antibody, currently in investigational preclinical studies for the treatment of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) and other fibrotic diseases. IPF is an aggressive, high mortality disease caused by fibrotic scarring in the lungs and remains an area of high unmet medical need.

Perhaps more desirable to the Humira King, the deal also includes access to DJS's proprietary HEPTAD platform — a novel approach to antibody discovery with specific capabilities targeting transmembrane protein targets. AbbVie plans to use the platform as a complement to its current capabilities in biotherapeutics research, hoping to enable antibody discovery to GPCRs and other intractable targets. 

AbbVie says it anticipates retaining all current DJS employees and its facility in Oxford.