(Bloomberg) -- Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $1.25 billion for the rights to an experimental eczema treatment, the latest big pharma deal for a new type of drug that hits two biological targets at the same time.

In the all-cash deal, J&J will acquire NM26, a bispecific antibody that privately held Numab Therapeutics is preparing to put into mid-stage human studies, according to a statement Tuesday. The therapy targets two proteins that cause the itchiness and inflammation of eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis.

J&J is among a host of pharmaceutical companies investing in bispecific antibodies, which have become standard treatments for certain cancers and are emerging as viable medicines for more common diseases. The drug giant is on the lookout for new products after separating from its consumer health division, now called Kenvue Inc., to focus on innovative medicines and devices.

The deal with Switzerland-based Numab adds to J&J’s inflammatory-disease portfolio, led by the blockbuster psoriasis treatment Tremfya, and investigational treatments for inflammatory bowel disease, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Numab’s drug may also treat other conditions that involving itching and inflammation, J&J said.  

The transaction is expected to occur in the second half of 2024, according to the statement.

J&J shares were little changed before US markets opened. They’ve fallen 6.2% from the beginning of the year through Friday’s close. 

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