Roche and Jnana Therapeutics have entered into a collaboration to discover new medicines targeting key regulators of cellular metabolism to treat immune-mediated and neurological diseases.
Jnana Therapeutics has announced a strategic, multi-target collaboration and license agreement with Roche for the discovery of small molecule drugs directed at the solute carrier (SLC) family of metabolite transporters, to treat immune-mediated and neurological diseases.
Under the terms of the deal, Jnana and Roche will work together on discovery and preclinical development for a broad set of targets across immunology and neuroscience – utilising the US biotech's RAPID platform, designed to overcome the challenges of directly targeting SLC transporters – which Roche will then further develop and commercialise exclusively.
Jnana will receive an upfront payment of $40 million in cash, and could also bank research funding, preclinical, development and commercialisation milestone payments, as well as royalties, with the aggregate value of future payments to Jnana potentially exceeding $1 billion.
“We are delighted to partner with Roche to pursue the untapped potential of SLC transporters as a new approach to develop medicines in major disease areas with high unmet medical need,” said Joanne Kotz, co-founder, chief executive and president of Jnana.
“This collaboration with Roche will expand the impact of Jnana’s platform so that, together, we can broadly address compelling SLC targets and bring new treatments to patients with immune-mediated and neurological diseases.”
“We are excited about Jnana’s small molecule approach to targeting SLC transporters, which represent a promising class of targets for discovering new medicines for patients across a range of diseases,” added James Sabry, head of Roche Pharma Partnering.
SLC transporters are a class of more than 450 human membrane proteins that are gatekeepers for controlling the movement of metabolites in and out of cells and organs. They ensure that metabolites are present in the right place at the right time, which is crucial for health and often dysregulated in disease.