Under the terms of the new agreement, Centocor - a subsidiary of drug giant Johnson & Johnson - will licence Medarex' UltiMab Human Antibody Development System to discover and potentially commercialise fully human antibody therapeutics. Pennsylvania-based Centocor first licensed the technology in 1997 and expanded the deal in 2000. The company is mainly known for its blockbuster Remicade (infliximab), an antibody-based treatment for Crohn's Disease and rheumatoid arthritis. The drug is the fourth top selling biologic drug and generated $3.8bn worldwide in 2006. Financial details of the licensing agreement were not revealed, but Medarex said it expects to receive license fees and milestone payments, in addition to royalties on commercial sales should Centocor bring any products onto the market. And this could happen within the next few years as Centocor currently has two UltiMab-derived antibodies in Phase III trials (one for the treatment of psoriasis and another, golimumab, for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis) while a third compound, for the treatment of cancer, is in Phase I, a Medarex spokesperson told Biopharma-Reporter.com. Medarex' technology has attracted the interest of not only Centocor but several other biopharma companies for a while, and over thirty antibodies derived from its technology are currently in human clinical testing, with six of the most advanced product candidates in Phase III clinical trials. Medarex claims its UltiMab platform allows drug developers to generate fully human antibodies that are 100 per cent human, of a very high affinity, and can be produced and manufactured relatively quickly and efficiently. "Our solution to making antibodies with fully human protein sequences is to use transgenic strains of mice in which mouse antibody gene expression is suppressed and effectively replaced with human antibody gene expression," says the company. UltiMab includes the company's HuMAb-Mouse technology, its Kirin's TC Mouse technology, and its KM-Mouse technology - a crossbred mouse that combines the characteristics of our HuMAb-Mouse with Kirin's TC Mouse.