In November 2014, we and Janssen entered into the Collaboration Agreement under which we granted to Janssen exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize imetelstat for all human therapeutic uses, including hematologic myeloid malignancies. Upon the effectiveness of the Collaboration Agreement, we received $35 million from Janssen as an upfront payment.
On September 27, 2018, we announced that Janssen decided to discontinue the Collaboration Agreement as a result of a strategic portfolio evaluation and prioritization of assets within their portfolio. As such, Geron has regained the global rights to develop and commercialize imetelstat, a first-in-class telomerase inhibitor, and intends to continue the development of imetelstat in hematologic myeloid malignancies.
Transition of the imetelstat program to Geron is expected to occur over approximately 12 months from the termination date with operational support from Janssen, including orderly transfer of all ongoing clinical, regulatory, medical affairs, manufacturing and preclinical services to Geron. In addition, Janssen is expected to supply imetelstat to Geron for up to 24 months from the termination date during a transition period for clinical manufacturing.
After sponsorship of the imetelstat Investigational New Drug (IND) application for ongoing clinical trials has been transferred from Janssen, Geron plans to initiate the Phase 3 portion of IMerge in patients with lower risk MDS and is targeting mid-year 2019 for patient screening and enrollment to begin. To learn more about IMerge™ .
In addition, Geron intends to discuss the results of the IMbark primary analysis, including the assessment of overall survival as it compares to historical data, with experts in myelofibrosis, as well as regulatory authorities. Feedback from these discussions is expected to provide important information on the feasibility, scope and design of any potential future clinical trials for imetelstat in Intermediate-2 or High-risk MF patients who have relapsed after or are refractory to prior treatment with a JAK inhibitor. To learn more about IMbark™.