Roche just dropped a first-generation antibody-based treatment preventing cancer cells from proliferating. Interestingly enough, the partner of the collaboration, Wilex’ subsidiary Heidelberg Pharma, stated the research “progressed well, on schedule, and in a mutually satisfactory manner”. What happened?
Heidelberg Pharma is a German company that discovers new drugs using its platform technology for antibody drug conjugates. To use it, Roche had entered a collaboration in 2013. The idea was to connect several antibodies from Roche’s pipeline to α-Amanitin. The latter is a peptide that naturally occurs in the green Death Cap mushroom and potentially inhibits the biosynthesis of RNA. A feature, that could be used against proliferating tumor cells. Indeed, testings have shown strong anti-tumour activity in several preclinical tumour models.
One year after the first signing, everything still seemed to work out well for the two companies. Roche expanded the arrangement for the further development and promised a €52M upfront payment. The collaboration backed Heidelberg Pharma’s finances. In the first half of 2015, Wilex generated €2.3M,