RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – A new licensing deal means $20 million up front and as much as $798 million in potential future payments for RTP-based Locus Biosciences.

Locus Biosciences

The company announced the deal Thursday with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a part of drug giant Johnson & Johnson.

The deal involves efforts to develop, manufacture and commercialize products target pathogens that result in respiratory tract and other infections.

Target of the development is CRISPR-Cas3 enhanced products known as crPhage, or bacteriophage.

“Our collaboration with Janssen on the development of products to treat deadly infections and potentially other microbiome dysbiosis associated conditions reflects the importance of the crPhage platform and its potential to revolutionize the treatment of disease and extend human life,” said Paul Garofolo, CEO of Locus Biosciences, in the announcement.

“Our platform is uniquely positioned to selectively eradicate pathogenic bacteria of choice while preserving an otherwise healthy microbiome in patients, and this collaboration with Janssen will enable us to further develop products on the platform to help patients in need around the world.”

CRISPR is a form of gene editing.

Locus has developed and patented a system it describes as “DNA shredding” that “selectively removes unwanted bacteria from the human body while leaving the many other species of good bacteria unaffected.”

A descriptive video is available at YouTube: