Roche acquires biotech start-up Inflazome

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Dublin-headquartered biotech start-up Inflazome was founded in 2016. Pic:getty/LewisTsePuiLung
Dublin-headquartered biotech start-up Inflazome was founded in 2016. Pic:getty/LewisTsePuiLung

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Roche has acquired four-year-old biotech start-up Inflazome, a company developing orally available drugs targeting inflammasomes.

Founded in 2016 by medical researchers Prof Matt Cooper (University of Queensland, Australia) and Prof Luke O’Neill (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland), the Dublin-headquarted company is developing NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitors for a variety of inflammatory diseases.

Roche will pay €380m ($450m) upfront for Inflazome, with the potential for additional milestone payments.  

Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s

Inflammasomes generate signals that cause immune cells to fight infections. While this is usually beneficial, unwanted inflammation can happen when immune cells are activated without control.

Inflammasomes are understood to drive many chronic inflammatory conditions, from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s to asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, arthritis and NASH.

Inflazome is developing drugs that can precisely block inflammasomes. The company has a portfolio of orally available small molecule NLRP3 inhibitors, with lead molecules having successfully completed Phase I clinical trials, as well as several high potential earlier-stage programmes.

Inflazome has raised €55m ($65m) in Venture Capital financing from leading investors Forbion, Longitude Capital, Fountain Healthcare Partners and Novartis Venture Fund.

Roche to develop inhibitors across wide variety of indications

The acquisition will give Roche full rights to Inflazome’s portfolio, with the Swiss biotech giant planning to continue development of NLRP3 inhibitors across a wide variety of indications.

Matt Cooper, Chief Executive Officer, Inflazome, said: “We are delighted to close this deal with Roche, an outstanding pharmaceutical company with a broad commitment to multiple indications. With Inflazome now part of the Roche organization, Inflazome’s pioneering molecules are well positioned to be developed quickly and effectively so they can help patients suffering from debilitating diseases.”

In July, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Orphan Drug Designation for Inflazome’s Inzomelid for the treatment of cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes (CAPS), a rare autoinflammatory orphan disease driven by a mutation affecting the NLRP3 inflammasome.

In March, Inflazome announced positive results with Inzomelid in CAPS, alongside the completion of a broader Phase 1 study that demonstrated ‘excellent safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics’ in healthy subjects.  

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