Roche enters the race for liver disease drugs, acquires US biotech Jecure

Roche acquire biotech Jecure

With this acquisition, Genentech will obtain full rights to Jecure’s entire preclinical portfolio of NLRP3 inhibitors.

Swiss drugmaker Roche is buying Jecure Therapeutics Inc., a biotechnology company with novel drug discovery programs targeting serious inflammatory diseases. According to a definitive agreement, Jecure will be acquired by Genentech, which is a member of the Roche Group. The financial values of the deal are yet to be disclosed.

With this move, Roche is joining Pfizer, Gilead Sciences and Novartis in pursuit of new drugs to treat fatty liver disease. The healthcare giants, Novartis and Pfizer lately teamed up to develop treatments for NASH, which many drug companies believe will become a hugely lucrative market, as it is tied to the obesity and diabetes epidemics. Unchecked, NASH can lead to advanced cirrhosis and liver failure.

The acquisition to bring novel NLRP3 inhibitors to market

James Sabry, head of pharma partnering, Roche, stated, “We’ve had a long-standing interest in targeting inflammatory pathways that may play a role in a number of serious diseases,” he added, “We’re excited to combine Jecure’s portfolio with our discovery and development capabilities, as well as our expertise in NLRP3 biology, to potentially help people with inflammatory diseases.”

Jeffrey A. Stafford, Ph.D., president, and CEO of Jecure, stated, “Genentech has an extensive history of translating pioneering science into transformative medicines,” he added, “The acquisition of Jecure provides a unique opportunity to bring novel NLRP3 inhibitors to patients.”

Reportedly, Jecure provides Roche with a preclinical portfolio of so-called NLRP3 inhibitors being developed for fighting inflammatory diseases like non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and liver fibrosis as well as gout, inflammatory bowel disease, and cardiovascular diseases. NASH, so far with no approved treatments, is set to become the leading cause of liver transplants by 2020.

Jecure Therapeutics is focused on novel therapeutics for the treatment of NASH and liver fibrosis and was founded by Dr. Ariel Feldstein, who heads gastroenterology at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine.

Roche, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, has recently commercialized three next-generation sequencing (NGS) AVENIO Tumor Tissue Analysis Kits, namely, the AVENIO Tumor Tissue Targeted Kit, Expanded Kit, and Surveillance Kit. The kits enable detect all four classes of mutation in solid tumors and complement Roche’s NGS ctDNA kits for oncology research.

 

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