Jnana Therapeutics has signed a multi-target collaboration and license deal worth over $1bn with Roche for the discovery of small molecule drugs for the treatment of immune-mediated and neurological diseases.
According to Jnana Therapeutics, the small molecule drugs will be developed for targeting the solute carrier (SLC) family of metabolite transporters for regulating cellular metabolism.
The Massachusetts-based biotech company and Roche have agreed to work together on the discovery and preclinical development for a broad set of targets in immunology and neuroscience. The targets emerging from the partnership will be further developed by the Swiss pharma major and subsequently will hold exclusive commercial rights.
The drug discovery and research work under the collaboration will make use of the US firm’s RAPID platform, which is said to screen small molecule libraries for identifying novel modulators of any SLC transporter.
As per the US company, SLC transporters are a protein family, which are diverse in structure and mechanism, and with a broad variety of substrates and cellular locales.
Jnana Therapeutics co-founder, CEO, and President Joanne Kotz said: “We are delighted to partner with Roche to pursue the untapped potential of SLC transporters as a new approach to develop medicines in major disease areas with high unmet medical need.
“This collaboration with Roche will expand the impact of Jnana’s platform so that, together, we can broadly address compelling SLC targets and bring new treatments to patients with immune-mediated and neurological diseases.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Jnana Therapeutics will be paid $40m upfront in cash by the Swiss pharma major. The US firm also stands to receive research funding, preclinical, development, and commercialisation milestone payments, and also royalties, which put together could cross $1bn.
Roche pharma partnering head James Sabry said: “Partnering with biotech companies that have innovative approaches to drug discovery is an essential part of Roche’s research strategy.
“We are excited about Jnana’s small molecule approach to targeting SLC transporters, which represent a promising class of targets for discovering new medicines for patients across a range of diseases.”
Earlier this month, Roche signed a global licensing and collaboration deal worth up to $1.7bn with Blueprint Medicines for the latter’s pralsetinib, an investigational treatment for RET-altered cancers.