Seattle biotech firm Shape Therapeutics inks gene therapy deal with Roche worth up to $3B – GeekWire

Posted: August 30, 2021 at 1:46 am

Shape Therapeutics CEO Francois Vigneault. (Shape Photo)

Shape Therapeutics has signed a deal potentially exceeding $3 billion with pharma giant Roche to support the development of gene therapies for Alzheimers and Parkinsons disease, the Seattle company announced Wednesday.

Shapes RNA editing technologies can change the sequence of RNA, which encodes the bodys protein building blocks. The company will deploy this technology with Roche in preclinical studies against targets relevant for these neurological conditions as well as certain rare diseases.

The collaboration may also leverage the biotech companys technologies for gene delivery. This system is designed to deliver RNA editing technology or other payloads directly to specific areas of the body, such as the nervous system or muscle.

Shape aims to unlock the next breakthrough in RNA technologies in the gene therapy space across a wide range of therapeutic areas, said Francois Vigneault, co-founder and CEO, in a statement.

Shapes RNA editing technology could potentially be used to change the amount of a key regulatory protein in the body or treat genetic diseases. The companys gene delivery technology is based on AAV vectors, a platform currently used to treat several rare conditions.

Under the agreement, Shape is eligible to receive an initial payment as well payments for hitting development, regulatory and sales milestones potentially exceeding $3 billion in aggregate value. Any products from the collaboration will be developed and commercialized by Roche.

The collaboration comes on the heels of a recent $112 million Series B investmentin June for the biotech, founded in 2018 with RNA editing technology spun out of the lab of co-founderPrashant Mali, a bioengineer at the University of California, San Diego.

Vigneault was former VP of research at Juno Therapeutics, a Seattle cell therapy company acquired by Celgene in 2018 for $9 billion. Other Juno veterans include Shapes head of platform technologies Adrian Briggs and vice president and head of research David Huss.

The new collaboration may reflect growing drug company interest in neurosciences, which is on the upswing after a lull several years ago. The recent FDA approval of Biogens Alzheimers drug Aduhelm may also be propelling interest in the field.

This new collaboration is also perfectly aligned with our broader efforts across the Roche Group to unlock the full potential of gene therapy, said James Sabry, Head of Roche Pharma Partnering, in a statement.

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Seattle biotech firm Shape Therapeutics inks gene therapy deal with Roche worth up to $3B - GeekWire

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