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Roche, Dicerna sign $1.67bn deal for HBV infection treatment

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Dicerna Pharmaceuticals has entered into a $1.67bn worth deal with Roche for the development of novel therapies to treat chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection using Dicerna’s GalXC RNAi platform technology.

Under the research collaboration and licensing agreement, the companies will work on the worldwide development and commercialisation of DCR-HBVS, Dicerna’s investigational therapy in phase 1 clinical development for the treatment of HBV infection.

The scope of the deal also includes the discovery and development of therapies, which target multiple additional human and viral genes associated with HBV infection using the technology platforms of both companies.

Dicerna Pharmaceuticals president and CEO Dr. Douglas Fambrough said: “Dicerna is excited to collaborate with Roche to realize the full potential of DCR-HBVS and leverage our GalXC platform to target and silence specific genes that contribute to chronic hepatitis B virus infection.”

As per terms of the deal, Dicerna will secure $200m as an initial upfront payment, as well as eligible to secure up to an additional $1.47bn based on the achievement of specified development, regulatory and commercial milestones.

Dicerna is having an option to secure royalties based on potential product sales of DCR-HBVS. It is also provided with an option to co-fund the pivotal development of DCR-HBVS across the world, which if exercised, the company will receive enhanced royalties and co-promote products including DCR-HBVS in the US.

Both firms have also agreed to work on the research and development of additional therapies targeting multiple human and viral genes implicated in chronic HBV infection by applying technology from both companies.  It will also facilitate Dicerna to secure additional milestones and royalties on any potential products.

Roche pharma early research and development’s infectious diseases global head John Young said: “We are excited to engage in a clinical partnership and research collaboration with Dicerna.

“This partnership builds upon our existing portfolio and internal expertise and positions us well to develop a best-in-disease therapy to cure chronic HBV infection.”

Recently, Roche secured approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its Xofluza (baloxavir marboxil) to treat people at high risk of developing influenza-related complications.