Actelion Spin Out and Roche Join Forces to Develop Cancer Immunotherapies

Idorsia and Roche have agreed on a research collaboration, with the big pharma getting exclusive rights to develop and license resultant cancer immunotherapy drugs.

Idorsia was formed out of J&J’s acquisition of Actelion for €27.9B at the beginning of the year. The spin out, led by Jean-Paul and Martine Clozel, kept hold of Actelion’s drug discovery and early clinical pipeline and received €920M to help it get started. Today, Idorsia has announced that it will partner up with Roche to develop new approaches in the field of cancer immunotherapy. The deal will see the two companies collaborate on the discovery new products, with Roche paying CHF 15M (€13M) upfront and potential milestones of CHF 410M (€350M). The news of the biotech’s latest collaboration with such a powerful partner has led to its stock price rising by more than 1.5% this morning.

The success that Idorsia is enjoying could be a source of regret for J&J, which allowed it to leave with Actelion’s promising early-stage candidates. In addition, one of its newly acquired products for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is being investigated by the EMA after five patient deaths. Despite this, J&J subsidiary, Janssen, will collaborate with Idorsia on its hypertension drug, aprocitentan, for the prevention of future heart attacks and strokes.

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