Roche left the collaboration with Molecular Partners, walking away from a potential cancer treatment using the DARPin technology. The collaboration, entered in 2013, was worth up to €940M.
Molecular Partners is a Swiss company focusing on immuno-oncology. The company has developed a platform generating small proteins called DARPins (Designed Ankyrin Repeat Proteins). These can target specific ligands, similarly to antibodies. Natural ankyrin repeat proteins are very common in nature and assist in cell signaling and receptor binding.
In late 2013, Roche bought the rights to develop and commercialize several DARPin-based products to treat cancer. Molecular Partners received an upfront payment of CHF55M (€51M) and would have had the possibility of CHF1Bn (€940M) milestone payments, if Roche hadn’t backed out early. The Swiss giant removes therewith DARPins from its pipeline, that were designed to interact with the protein synthesis inhibiting exotoxin A.
We discussed other areas of mutual interest, but given our own proprietary focus on immuno-oncology, it made no sense to amend the current collaboration“,