Roche group Genentech is acquiring San Diego-based biotech Jecure Therapeutics.

Jecure specialises in a wide range of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders, such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), liver fibrosis, gout, inflammatory bowel disease and cardiovascular diseases, and is developing NLRP3 inhibitors to fight the diseases.

The acquisition “provides a unique opportunity to bring novel NLRP3 inhibitors to patients” according to Jeffrey Stafford, president and chief executive of Jecure.

The acquisition gives Genentech full rights to Jecure’s entire preclinical portfolio of NLRP3 inhibitors, and puts Roche in the NASH race alongside Novartis and Pfizer, who last month teamed up to develop treatments for the condition.

Many drug companies believe will become a hugely lucrative market, as it is tied to the obesity and diabetes epidemics.

"We've had a long-standing interest in targeting inflammatory pathways that may play a role in a number of serious diseases," stated James Sabry, global head of pharma partnering at Roche, continuing "we're excited to combine Jecure's portfolio with our discovery and development capabilities, as well as our expertise in NLRP3 biology, to potentially help people with inflammatory diseases."