Inflammaging biotech acquired by Roche for €380m

One of the largest deals in Irish biotech history sees Roche gain rights to full Inflazome portfolio.

The Swiss company Roche has bought Dublin-based biotech Inflazome for €380m, meaning shareholders will get a payout of €380m upfront, as well as future payments which are dependent on predetermined milestones.

Longevity.Technology: Half of speciality medicine sales can be attributed to small molecule applications, and now Roche is adding to its small molecule portfolio, having won FDA approval for Evrysdi last month. NLRP3 acts as a “danger sensor”, releasing pro-inflammatory cytokines and triggering uncontrolled, lytic cell death, both pathways to chronic inflammation. Blockade of the NLRP3 inflammasome has been demonstrated to improve metabolic health and lifespan in animal studies [1], so the implications for Longevity are clear.

Inflazome was founded in 2016 by Professors Luke O’Neill from Trinity College in Dublin and Matt Cooper from the University of Queensland in Australia and manufactures orally-taken drugs that tackle inflammatory diseases and include clinical and preclinical small molecule NLRP3 inhibitors.

Inflazome technicians working in the lab. Source: Inflazome

The therapy works by targeting inflammasomes, intracellular protein complexes that are thought to be the drivers behind a range of chronic inflammatory conditions, including asthma, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic kidney and cardiovascular disease, as well as the debilitating neurodegenerative conditions, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. and Alzheimer’s to asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease and arthritis.

Roche plans to continue to explore and develop NLRP3 inhibitors across a wide variety of indications that need new therapies.

“We are delighted to close this deal with Roche, an outstanding pharmaceutical company with a broad commitment to multiple indications,” said Matt Cooper, CEO of Inflazome. “With Inflazome now part of the Roche organization, Inflazome’s pioneering molecules are well positioned to be developed quickly and effectively so they can help patients suffering from debilitating diseases [2].”

Trinity College Dublin Provost Dr Patrick Prendergast said today’s deal is was a “boost for the Irish scientific community.”

“Investigator-led research drives the innovation economy, and this news offers tangible evidence of its importance and what can be achieved through partnership. We congratulate all the researchers involved for their tireless commitment to discovery and innovation and for making a real difference in society,” he added [3].

[1] https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11357-019-00151-6
[2] https://inflazome.com/press-release-21-sep-2020.html
[3] https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2020/0921/1166446-inflazome-roche-deal/

Images courtesy of Inflazome
Eleanor Garth
Deputy Editor Now a science and medicine journalist, Eleanor worked as a consultant for university spin-out companies and provided research support at Imperial College London and various London hospitals in a former life.

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