Swiss drug giant Roche is wrapping up 2019 with one last deal in Massachusetts: A tie-up with Cambridge biotech Rheos Medicines in the startup's first drug development collaboration.
The startup was launched by Third Rock Ventures last year with plans to treat diseases in which the immune system becomes dysfunctional, like cancer, inflammatory diseases and immune disorders. It has not yet disclosed any lead drug candidates or clinical trial plans.
Roche will pay $42.5 million upfront and another $750 million in preclinical, clinical and commercial milestones, according to a press release. That adds to the $87.5 million Rheos has raised since being founded in 2017.
Rheos is able to share U.S. commercial rights with Roche for any products developed.
Roche has spent billions this year on acquisitions and collaborations, most notably its $4.3 billion purchase of Philadelphia gene therapy startup Spark Therapeutics and its $1.67 billion collaboration with local gene-silencing firm Dicerna Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: DRNA).
Rheos has expanded since its launch, doubling its staff to around 30 people and bringing in former Tilos Therapeutics CEO Barbara Fox to lead the company. Fox left Lexington-based Tilos following its acquisition by Merck & Co. earlier this year.
Since founding Rheos, venture capital firm Third Rock has raised its largest-ever fund of $770 million.
Source : https://www.bizjournals.com/boston/news/2019/12/19/roche-pays-43m-upfront-to-partner-with-third-rock.html