Roche and Curadev Enter $555 Million Cancer Immunotherapy Deal

Swiss drugmaker Roche has enter a deal worth up to $555 million to work with India’s Curadev Pharma on new cancer immunotherapies.

The companies have entered into a research collaboration and exclusive license agreement for the development and commercialization of IDO1 and TDO inhibitors. The deal covers the development of the lead preclinical immune tolerance inhibitor and a research collaboration with Roche’s research and early development organization to further explore the IDO and TDO pathways.

Under the agreement, Roche will pay Curadev a $25 million upfront fee. Additionally, Curadev will be eligible to receive up to $530 million in milestone payments, as well as escalating royalties potentially reaching double digits for the first product from the collaboration developed and commercialized by Roche. Curadev would also be eligible for milestones and royalties on any additional products resulting from the collaboration. Roche will be responsible for funding future research, development, manufacturing and commercialization costs and will also provide additional research funding to Curadev for support of the research collaboration.

IDO and TDO are enzymes that mediate cancer-induced immune suppression. This mechanism is exploited by tumor cells as well as certain immune cells, limiting the anti-tumor immune response. Curadev believes that dual inhibition of IDO1 and TDO pathways promises to maintain the immune response, prevent local tumor immune escape and potentially avoid resistance to other immunotherapies when used in combination, and could lead to new treatment options for cancer patients. Curadev said that its preclinical lead compound – a small-molecule that shows potent inhibition of the two rate-limiting enzymes in the tryptophan – to kynurenine metabolic pathways – has the potential for monotherapy as well as in combination with Roche’s vast cancer pipeline and portfolio.

“We are very excited to be working with the global leader in oncology with their unrivalled expertise in clinical development,” said Arjun Surya, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, Curadev. “The collaboration acknowledges our focused research efforts on patient-critical drug targets that have yielded a drug candidate that could make a significant difference in the development of novel treatments for patients suffering from cancer.”

The agreement with Curadev marks Roche’s second big bet on IDO and TDO inhibitors over the past year. In October, Roche’s Genentech entered into a deal with NewLink Genetics, in which it agreed to pay $150 million upfront and more than $1 billion in potential milestone payments to collaborate on an early-stage treatment known as NLG919.

Source: Curadev Pharma

Last updated: 4/20/15; 12:30pm EST


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