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Roche snaps up Inception neuroscience program

Published on 05/04/18 at 10:20am

Back in 2014, Roche entered into strategic collaboration with Inception Sciences to look into the regenerative medicines space for multiple sclerosis. As per the initial agreement, Roche was able to acquire the research program when an IND was able to be filed.

The agreement has met that requirement and now Roche has taken up its option, though the full financial details were not revealed and the target also remained undisclosed, though it is known to be aimed at remyelination as a treatment for MS.

In this area, Roche will now join Acorda and Biogen – though success in the area is not certain, with Biogen struggling to produce results for its candidate, opicinumab, in Phase 2 trials.

“Our Inception scientists once again demonstrated their ability to effectively translate foundational academic discoveries into high-quality drug candidates. This achievement resulted from access to cutting-edge academic research, a proven team of drug hunters with domain expertise, and support from our venture capital and pharma partners,” said Peppi Prasit, CEO of Inception Sciences.

The Inception team was backed by Versant Ventures, a global healthcare investment firm. Now that its lead program is headed to Roche, the same team will form a new company, named Pipeline Therapeutics, which will again focus on neuro-regenerative therapies.

Versant will, once again, back the new company and Pipeline announced that it would be looking to seek further funding in 2019. The new group will be a team of 12 individuals, with leadership from Dr Brian Stearns and Dr Daniel Lorrain, who co-led translational work on the program taken on board by Roche.

“We are very excited to announce the creation of Pipeline Therapeutics and look forward to pursuing other therapeutic approaches that can promote functional recovery in neurological diseases,” said Dr Stearns.

Ben Hargreaves

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