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2022-09-08| M&A

Roche Buys Good Therapeutics For $250 Million Upfront, Obtains Immune Stimulating Antibody Conjugate Program

by Joy Lin
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Roche is paying $250 million upfront to acquire Seattle, Washington-based Good Therapeutics, a discovery-stage immuno-oncology company that is developing “conditionally active” drugs. The deal gives Roche rights to Good’s PD-1-regulated IL-2 program and an exclusive right to the platform technology that develops such programs. 

Good’s owners will be eligible for additional payments from Roche if their program hits developmental, regulatory and commercial milestones. After the acquisition, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2022, Good’s team will continue operations in a new company, Bonum Therapeutics. 

Founded in 2016 and based in Seattle, Washington, Good Therapeutics has been backed by a number of venture investors including Codon Capital, RiverVest Venture Partners and the Roche Venture Fund. 

Related Article: FDA Approves Roche’s Established Antiviral For Children Aged Five Or Older

Stimulating T Cells Via PD-1-IL-2 Conjugates 

Good’s lead program involves linking PD-1-targeting antibodies to the cytokine interleukin-2 (IL-2), which stimulates the antitumor T-cell response. The conjugate drug selectively binds PD-1-expressing tumor-reactive T-cells while ignoring the majority of T-cells in circulation that do not express the receptor. The IL-2 payload stimulates growth and differentiation in the PD-1+ T-cells to promote the antitumor T-cell response.

IL-2 is only effective in a subset of cancer patients in high doses, which comes with great toxicity. By localizing the IL-2 immune stimulating effect to only tumor-specific T-cells, the drug could potentially minimize system toxicity. Additionally, PD-1 binding blocks the PD-1 receptor which prevents tumor cells from exploiting the PD-1/PD-L1 immune-evading mechanism. 

Besides PD-1-IL-2 conjugates, Good is also investigating other combinations such as PD-L1 and interferon alpha (IFN-α). These, as well as a few discovery-stage programs, will now be in the possession of Roche. 

“We are excited to bring Good’s innovative PD-1-regulated IL-2 program into our existing oncology pipeline, which nicely complements our efforts on next-generation PD-1-targeted IL-2 therapeutics and our broader oncology strategy of providing cancer patients with innovative solutions and improving health outcomes,” said James Sabry, M.D., Ph.D., Global Head of Pharma Partnering at Roche.

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