Roche looks for next breakthrough Alzheimer’s drug with new deal

Aug. 24, 2021

With the industry intensifying its focus on difficult neurological diseases, Roche is teaming up with Shape Therapeutics to develop Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s therapies in a deal potentially worth up to $3 billion.

This week, the companies announced the partnership, which will leverage Shape’s RNA editing tech called RNAfix along with its AAVid platform to discover next-gen tissue-specific AAVs for gene therapies. The companies said that the new therapies will target a range of diseases including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s — one of the most sought-after indications in the industry. 

Under the deal, Shape will use AI to help discover potential development candidates, and then Roche will then take over to develop and commercialize new therapies.

“Our mission at Shape is to unlock the next breakthrough in RNA technologies in the gene therapy space across a wide range of therapeutic areas,” Francois Vigneault, co-founder and CEO of Shape, said in a statement “The relationship with Roche quickly centered on a common desire to tackle some of the world’s most challenging diseases by accelerating the development of breakthrough technologies towards the clinic.”

Roche currently has another Alzheimer’s treatment — a monoclonal antibody called gantenerumab — in phase 3 trials called. The company said it is expected to release a readout of the trial in the second half of 2022.