Swiss drugmaker Roche has signed an agreement to acquire privately-held Trophos for up to $545 million.
The acquisition will provide Roche with Trophos’ candidate for the rare and debilitating spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Trophos’ proprietary screening platform generated olesoxime (TRO19622), which is in mid-stage development for SMA. SMA is a life-limiting and highly disabling genetic disease characterized by progressive muscle weakness and loss of motor function. It affects the motor neurons of the voluntary muscles used for activities like crawling, walking, head and neck control and swallowing. Typically the disease presents in early childhood, and is the most common genetic cause of infant mortality. SMA affects one in 6,000 to one in 10,000 children.
Results from a Phase II study of Trophos’ olesoxime in SMA showed a beneficial effect on the maintenance of neuromuscular function in individuals with Type II and non-ambulatory Type III SMA, as well as a reduction in medical complications associated with the disease.
“SMA is a grievous disease with a huge impact on the daily life of patients and their families, who are currently left only with supportive care. We are proud to see the development of this medicine evolving, with the ultimate goal of a potential first medicine for SMA,” said Christine Placet, Chief Executive Officer at Trophos. “This is a tremendous recognition of the work done by Trophos’ teams and supporters over the past 16 years.”
Under the agreement, Roche will pay Trophos’ shareholders roughly $139 million upfront and contingent payments of up to $406 million based on achievement of certain milestones.
“This acquisition highlights Roche’s commitment to developing medicines for spinal muscular atrophy, a serious disease with no effective treatment,” said Sandra Horning, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Head of Global Product Development at Roche. “We will build on the work done by Trophos and the French Muscular Dystrophy Association to advance the development of olesoxime and to bring it to people who live with this devastating condition as quickly as possible.”
The acquisition marks Roche’s fourth deal announced this week. In addition Roche’s deal with Trophos, the company acquired a majority stake in Foundation Medicine for $1.2 billion, and obtained rights from Meji Seika Pharma and Fedora Pharmaceuticals to develop an early-stage infection disease compound for up to $750 million.