Roche makes moves
Roche marked the beginning of the year by announcing two partnerships.
On January 3rd, the company entered into a collaboration with China's MediLink Therapeutics. The focus is on developing YL211, an ADC targeting c-Mesenchymal epithelial transition factor (c-Met) for solid tumors. Roche will provide MediLink with upfront and near-term milestone payments totaling $50 million, with potential additional milestones, reaching close to $1 billion.
This partnership solidifies Roche's ADC presence, a modality that has gained momentum in oncology as a promising therapeutic option.
Roche inked another partnership the next day, this time with MOMA Therapeutics. Per the deal, the Massachusetts-based precision medicines company will give Roche access to its proprietary KnowledgeBase platform for identifying oncology targets. In return, MOMA receives a $66 million upfront cash payment and stands eligible for milestone payments exceeding $2 billion, along with tiered royalties.
The collaborations follow on the heels of Roche's October acquisition of Telavant, which included a $7.1 billion upfront payment and a near-term milestone payment of $150 million. Upon completion, Roche will take full control of the development, production, and marketing of Telavant's promising bowel disease treatment in the U.S. and Japan.
And it doesn't appear that Roche, a leading global investor in research and development, is slowing down anytime soon. The company spent $14.5 billion in R&D in 2022, up from $13.7 in 2021. As of October 2023, the company reported having over 100 products in its pipeline, including over 40 therapeutics in phase 3, 9 of which are New Molecular Entities.
— Andrea Corona
Flagship keeps sailing
Earlier this week, we reported that Novo Nordisk entered into separate cardiometabolic research collaborations with two Flagship Pioneering bioplatform companies — Omega Therapeutics and Cellarity — focused on obesity and chronic liver disease, respectively.
If the Flagship name sounds familiar, it’s for good reason. The Massachusetts-based venture capital company keeps itself busy. The incubator has backed several pharma success stories, including Moderna, CRISPR gene editing-focused Editas Medicine and chronic disease specialist Sigilon, snapped up by Eli Lilly over the summer for $34.6 million.
Flagship went international this past fall when it unveiled a new biotech — Quotient Therapeutics — with offices in the U.S. and the UK. The VC was also recently named to FORTUNE's 2023 ‘Change the World’ list, an annual global ranking of companies that have made a positive social or environmental impact.
The two recent deals with Novo are the first two programs to emerge from a collaboration between Flagship and Novo's R&D unit, Bio Innovation Hub, signed last year. Novo’s explosive success in the cardiometabolic space combined with the proprietary platform technologies from Omega and Cellarity should offer up some exciting advances in both obesity and MASH down the line. —Karen Langhauser