Roche has bought the rights to develop and market orphan acute myeloid leukemia drug, ORY-1001 from Spain's Oryzon Genomics.
Basel-based Roche made an upfront payment of $21 million to Barcelona-based Oryzon and will make payments that may exceed $500 million if the desired goals are met on conducting further clinical trials.
The purchase gives Roche its first drug in human testing in the field of epigenetics, in which scientists try to change the way genes behave without altering the DNA itself.
ORY-1001, which is in early phases of clinical trials, blocks the enzyme Lysine Specific Demethylase, without altering the DNA pattern. This in turn turns off the genes which are promoters to developing certain kinds of leukemia.
Read the Bloomberg press release