Roche has teamed up with the USA’s Halozyme Therapeutics in a deal

potentially worth in excess of $600 million that will allow it to get its hands on the latter’s drug delivery technology. Shares in Halozyme responded well on the news, shooting up 60%.

Specifically, Roche is looking to apply Halozyme’s Enhanze technology

to its biological compounds in order to improve drug delivery. The Halozyme approach is based on recombinant human haluronidase (rHuPH20), which is an analogue of a human enzyme that clears a space in the matrix of the skin, and other tissues, to improve the delivery of medicines.

Under the terms of the agreement, Roche will pay Halozyme $20 million in upfront payments for the application of Enhanze to three pre-defined but undisclosed biologic targets, and the Swiss firm may part with up to $111 million more in royalties if those targets complete a series of clinical, regulatory and sales milestones.

Also, over the next 10 years, Roche has an exclusive option to

develop and commercialise the technology using an additional 10 targets and, for each of those ten, it may make further upfront and milestone payments of up to $47 million per target. Roche is also making an $11 million equity investment in return for a 5% stake in Halozyme.

Jonathan Lim, Halozyme’s chief executive, said: “In every respect,

both technically and commercially, this represents a landmark agreement.”