Roche Buys NLRP3 Inflammasome Inhibitors Developer Inflazome

Roche RHHBY acquired Dublin-based biotech company Inflazome for an upfront payment of €380 million.

Inflazome’s shareholders are also eligible to receive additional contingent payments to be made based on the achievement of certain predetermined milestones.

Inflazome, founded in 2016, is a pioneering inflammasome company developing orally available NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitors to address clinical unmet needs across a wide variety of inflammatory diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, arthritis and NASH.

The acquisition gives Roche full rights to Inflazome’s entire pipeline, which comprises clinical and preclinical orally available small-molecule NLRP3 inhibitors.

Activated NLRP3 acts as a ‘danger sensor’ in the body to release the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β, IL-18 and induce uncontrolled, lytic cell death (pyroptosis).

The two lead molecules — Inzomelid and Somalix — have successfully completed phase I studies. Inzomelid is a brain-penetrant drug being developed for the treatment of neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and motor neuron disease.

Somalix is being developed for the treatment of debilitating conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis and many other diseases.

The acquisition will enable the company to gain a foothold in this promising space of inflammatory diseases.

Roche’s stock has gained 13.9% in the year so far against the industry’s decline of 0.3%.

The company is a leader in the oncology space and strategic acquisition in other therapeutic arenas will further diversify its portfolio.

Earlier, Roche’s subsidiary, Genentech, also obtained full rights to Jecure’s entire portfolio of NLRP3 inhibitors.

Roche also acquired Philadelphia-based gene-therapy company, Spark Therapeutics, for $4.8 billion to boost presence in the promising gene therapy space.

Roche also signed a licensing agreement with Sarepta Therapeutics, Inc., SRPT, which provided the former with exclusive commercial rights to SRP-9001, the latter’s investigational gene therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), outside the United States.

Roche is looking to diversify its portfolio as legacy drugs like Herceptin face biosimilar competition from Mylan MYL and Pfizer PFE, among others.

Roche currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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