J&J Buys VC-Backed Respivert

(Reuters) – Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ.N) Centocor unit has acquired British inhaled drug specialist Respivert, landing one of its backers — Imperial Innovations (IVO.L) — a 9.5 million pounds ($13.9 million) cash windfall.

Respivert, which was founded by former GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) executives and respiratory experts from London’s Imperial College, is also backed by SV Life Sciences, Advent Venture Partners and Fidelity Biosciences.

J&J did not disclose the price it was paying for the business, but Imperial Innovations said the disposal had delivered a 4.7 times return on its three-year investment.

Respivert is developing a new generation of inhaled treatments for respiratory problems including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis and severe asthma.

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Erica Billingham)