Swiss drugmaker Roche (RHHBY) is doubling down on its immunotherapy oncology pipeline, on Monday announcing it will pay Indian company Curadev Pharma up to $555 million to develop and market its IDO1 and TDO inhibitors IDO1 (indoleamine-2, 3-dioxygenase-1) and TDO (tryptophan-2, 3-dioxygenase) are enzymes that mediate cancer-induced immune suppression, which tumor cells and a certain type of immune cells use to reject that body’s anti-tumor immune response.

Curadev said in a statement that its technology allows the dual inhibition of the IDO1 and TDO pathways, which may “maintain the immune response, prevent local tumor immune escape and potentially avoid resistance to other immunotherapies.”

Under the terms of deal, Roche will shell out an upfront payment of $25 million to Curadev, with an additional $530 million available in milestone payments. Tiered royalty payments could also reach the double digits for the first marketed product.

Curadev will also be eligible for milestones and royalties on any additional products resulting from the research collaboration.

“We are very excited to be working with the global leader in oncology with their unrivalled expertise in clinical development,” said Arjun Surya, chief scientific officer of Curadev, in a statement. “The collaboration acknowledges our focused research efforts on patient-critical drug targets that have yielded a drug candidate that could make a significant difference in the development of novel treatments for patients suffering from cancer.”

Roche will also fund future research, development, manufacturing and commercialization costs, while providing research funds to Curadev to support its research collaboration.

The technology snapped up today by Roche could lead to new treatment options for cancer patients. Curadev’s preclinical lead-compound, a small-molecule that shows potent inhibition of the two rate-limiting enzymes in the tryptophan-to kynurenine metabolic pathways, has the potential for mono therapy. It will be a good fit in combination with Roche’s broad oncology pipeline and portfolio.

Headquartered in New Delhi, India, Curadev Pharma was founded in 2010 to accelerate the discovery and delivery of new drugs. Curadev focuses on the creation and out-licensing of pre-IND assets and IND packages for drug development.


April 20, 2015
By Riley McDermid, Breaking News Sr. Editor