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Roche's Genentech inks potential $2bn personalised cancer drug development deal

Published on 07/01/19 at 11:51am

Roche’s Genentech is set to enter into a deal with Adaptive Biotechnologies to bolster its pursuits in the treatment of cancer, paying $300 million upfront in a new deal to manufacture and develop novel neoantigen directed T-cell therapies for various forms of the disease, it has emerged. 

The new partnership will see Genentech leverage Adaptive’s T-cell receptor (TCR) discovery and immune profiling platform (TruTCR) to galvanise its drug development efforts, as part of what it calls “a transformational new treatment paradigm of tailoring cellular therapy for each patient’s individual cancer”.

According to Adaptive, the technology can efficiently identify the optimal T-cell receptors in order to best target a patient’s neoantigens to achieve robust treatment outcomes.

“We believe targeting neoantigens could be the most effective approach for harnessing a person’s immune system to fight cancer,” remarked Dr James Sabry, Global head of Pharma Partnering at Roche. “This partnership, which combines Adaptive’s pioneering platform for identifying T-cell receptors with Genentech’s cancer immunology expertise, has the potential to change the way cancer is treated and bring us one step closer to truly personalised healthcare.”

While Roche will pay $300 million upfront to Adaptive under the partnership, when regulatory and commercialisation milestones are taken into account, the deal is thought to be worth over $2 billion. Genentech will assume clinical, regulatory and commercialisation responsibilities, while Adaptive will take care of global patient-specific screening.

Dr Harlan Robins, Head of Innovation and co-founder of Adaptive Biotechnologies, commented: “Cellular therapy approaches in cancer have been limited by the inability to effectively screen and translate the immune response to patient-specific neoantigens. Accurate recognition of such neoantigens is a major driver in the activity of novel immunotherapies. Given Adaptive’s unique ability to read and access the immune system at unprecedented scale and precision, Adaptive and Genentech can potentially jointly develop a patient-specific approach to treating cancer.”

Matt Fellows

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