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Roche signs multi-billion dollar RNA-targeted drug discovery deal with Arrakis Therapeutics

Published on 09/04/20 at 10:27am

Roche has signed a new partnership with Arrakis Therapeutics in a bid to drive discovery of RNA-targeted small molecule (rSM) drug candidates within the former’s full range of theraupeutic focus areas.

The deal breaks down into an upfront cash payment of $190 million from Roche to Arrakis, with the latter also receiving additional development and commercialisation milestone payments of an undisclosed value depending on the success of candidates; the total potential value of these payments was said to exceed “several billion dollars”, subject to regulatory and commercial success.

Arrakis will handle the bulk of discovery and research duties under the agreement, with Roche having the exclusive opportunity to pursue preclinical and clinical development of candidates beyond a defined point.

The partnership will leverage Arrakis’ discovery platform, which marries data drawn through RNA bioinformatic and structural tools, curated chemical libraries, RNA-specific assays, and RNA-guided medicinal chemistry.

“Through our pioneering work in RNA biology, we have built a platform for creating and adapting drug discovery tools that allow us to predict and validate the structure of RNA targets, locate druggable pockets, identify drug-like hits, and conduct medicinal chemistry programmes to discover a new class of RNA-targeted medicines optimized for potency, selectivity, and safety,” explained Dr Jennifer C Petter, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Arrakis. “This agreement with Roche underscores the value inherent in our rSM platform and will enable us to continue to make leading discoveries and further scientific contributions in the field.”

“The collaboration will increase the number of new treatments for patients arising from our proprietary rSM discovery platform,” added Dr Michael Gilman, Chief Executive Officer of Arrakis. “In addition to the Roche collaboration, we are further building our capabilities and advancing our wholly-owned rSM programmes for diseases unaddressed by today’s medicines.”

Matt Fellows

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