Inflammation start-up acquired by Roche

Thursday, 01 October, 2020

Inflammation start-up acquired by Roche

A start-up company developing treatments for inflammatory diseases, based on a research partnership between The University of Queensland (UQ) and Trinity College Dublin (TCD), has been acquired by Roche for an upfront cash payment of €380 million (about $617 million), plus additional payments based on the achievement of certain milestones. The deal is said to be one of the largest in Australian and Irish biotech history.

Named Inflazome, the start-up was founded in 2016 following a research collaboration between UQ and TCD, with UQ technology transfer company UniQuest leading the commercialisation of the resulting intellectual property (IP). Headquartered in Dublin, the company is developing drugs to address clinical unmet needs in inflammatory diseases by targeting inflammasomes, which are understood to drive many chronic inflammatory conditions.

The acquisition gives Roche full rights to Inflazome’s portfolio of inflammasome inhibitors, with the pharma company intending to further develop these inhibitors across a wide variety of indications with high unmet medical need. Two of the start-up’s drug candidates are currently in clinical trials for the treatment of debilitating conditions such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and motor neuron disease.

In a joint statement, UniQuest CEO Dr Dean Moss and Trinity Research and Innovation Director Leonard Hobbs said the deal echoes global market confidence in the quality of research at Trinity and UQ.

“This is one of the largest Australian and Irish biotech deals and follows the company’s Series B capital raise of $63 million in 2018,” Dr Moss said.

“It’s wonderful to see it eventuate, bringing much-needed treatment options a step closer to reality.”

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