Roche takes on KRAS-mutated cancers with Hookipa deal

Oct. 20, 2022

Immunotherapy-focused biotech Hookipa and pharma giant Roche will join forces to develop arenaviral immunotherapies for KRAS-mutated cancers.

Through the partnership announced today, Roche will pay Hookipa up to $25 million in upfront cash and milestone payments of up to $930 million and royalties to develop its investigational therapy, HB-700. Roche also has the option to license a second undisclosed novel arenaviral immunotherapy.

HB-700 is intended to treat KRAS-mutated lung, colorectal, pancreatic, and other cancers. It works by using replication 2-vector therapy to target common mutations found in these specific cancers, which are characterized by protein errors in normal cells. 

Founded in 2011, Hookipa has specialized in developing its proprietary arenavirus platform, which they use to develop therapies that can mobilize and amplify specific T-cells. The recently announced partnership is the first oncology licensing collaboration for the company. The biotech has teamed with Gilead to design HIV arenavirus vector-based vaccines, with trials anticipated to start in 2023.