Roche has signed a deal with US pharma Upsher-Smith Laboratories - through its wholly-owned UK subsidiary Proximagen - to develop an experimental therapy that might be effective in inflammatory diseases.

The groups are working on development of a novel, oral small molecule inhibitor of Vascular Adhesion Protein 1 (VAP-1), which may prevent cell-adhesion and is currently in Phase II clinical development.

Under the deal, the Swiss drugmaker gets an exclusive global license to develop and commercialise the compound, but in an unusual move, both Roche and Proximagen will first undertake additional Phase II studies to fully explore the VAP-1 inhibitor’s therapeutic potential. 

Based on this data, Roche will then assume responsibility for late stage development and worldwide commercialisation, and Proximagen stands to receive an upfront payment, along with downstream development, regulatory and sales milestones and ultimately tiered royalties on net sales of a potential future product containing the molecule.

“This agreement is a novel partnering model where regulatory responsibility and trial sponsorship will only transition upon the success of additional clinical studies,” said Sophie Kornowski-Bonnet, head of Roche Partnering. “A dedicated and very experienced team located at the Roche Innovation Center New York, will drive the development most efficiently from our side”.