Roche's Genentech goes on deal spree, unveiling third deal on the same day
The business development executives at Roche’s Genentech have been busy shopping.
The company, founded in 2016 by Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine professors, has been enlisted to help Genentech develop medicines with neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis. The Roche company already sells the intravenous therapy Ocrevus, which was approved for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis as well as primary progressive multiple sclerosis in 2017.
Characteristic of the Roche way, financial details of the deal were sparse. Under the deal, Convelo will receive an undisclosed upfront payment and research support from Genentech, and the Roche company has an exclusive option to acquire Convelo for additional undisclosed payment and downstream milestones, Convelo said on Tuesday.
The name Convelo is derived from a Latin word meaning “to wrap around” — and the company’s technology is engineered to regenerate myelin around nerve cells to restore neurological function.
Formed by special cells called oligodendrocytes, myelin insulates nerve fibers to enable the transmission of electrical signals. In the healthy brain, oligodendrocyte progenitor cells, a stem cell omnipresent in the human central nervous system, generate new oligodendrocytes in a process known as myelination. Convelo’s platform is designed to stimulate these stem cells to form new myelin. In 2018, Convelo raised $7.8 million in funding led by Cleveland Convelo Holdings.
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