Five years ago, Roche touted a clinical success for one of its mid-stage cardio programs, reporting the investigational med showed promise in reducing heart damage. Promising, they said, but apparently not promising enough. Roche quietly discontinued that program after Phase II trials and we didn’t hear about it again until today: Roche has sold it to a San Francisco biotech for a paltry $2 million.
The drug is called inclacumab (coined RG1512 while at Roche), and it’s a monoclonal antibody that inhibits the protein P-selectin. Roche used it to reduce the inflammation and heart tissue damage that often occurs during heart surgery when opening up clogged arteries. The company that licensed the drug is Global Blood Therapeutics, a company that plans to see how the drug might treat vaso-occlusive crisis, a painful complication of sickle cell disease. Global Blood Therapeutics wants the drug in its pipeline as a complement to its existing sickle cell drug.
“We are committed to developing transformative treatments for the SCD community and becoming the preeminent SCD company,” said the company’s president and CEO Ted Love in a statement. “Inclacumab is an ideal complement to voxelotor, our lead investigational oral, once-daily therapy, in Phase III clinical development for SCD. Like voxelotor, inclacumab has a strong scientific rationale and has the potential to provide significant clinical benefit for SCD patients.”
Global Blood Therapeutics bought the license for a mere $2 million upfront, and up to $125 million in milestone payments. The company plans to leverage safety data produced from Roche’s prior clinical studies for their own programs. Global Blood Therapeutics has begun the tech transfer from Roche to a contract manufacturing organization and plans to submit an IND in 2021.
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