Roche To Pay Up To $489 Million For Next-Gen Antibody Firm Dutalys

Roche To Pay Up To $489 Million For Next-Gen Antibody Firm Dutalys
December 19, 2014
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

Switzerland-based Roche announced yesterday that it will acquire Vienna, Austria-based Dutalys GmbH for a deal that could hit $489 million. Dutalys will receive a cash payment of $133.75 million and another additional $355 million is contingent on reaching various milestones.

Dutalys is a privately owned biotech company that specializes in research and development of fully human, bi-specific antibodies utilizing proprietary DutaMab technology. The platform creates an engineered artificial protein made up of fragments of two different monoclonal antibodies. This allows the antibody to bind to two different antigens while maintaining good stability.

Generally, traditional bi-specific antibodies are created by merging fragments of two antibodies and using synthetic linkers to tie them together. This often causes problems with stability and manufacturing.

Founded in April 2010, Dutalys was supported by seed financing from Austria Wirtschaffsservice, funding from the Austrian Academic Business Incubator, and research grants provided by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency and the Technology Agency of the City of Vienna.

“The platform developed by Dutalys is a breakthrough technology, and we are excited about integrating it within Roche,” said John Reed, head of Pharma Research and Early Development at Roche in a statement. “It strengthens our R&D capabilities in delivering bi-specific antibodies, which have the potential to create transformational new medicines.”

Roche, along with Genentech, its subsidiary, have had major successes turning antibodies into cutting-edge medications Examples include cancer drugs Rituxan, Avasstin, Perjeta, Kadcyla and Gazyva.

“We are delighted to have found a partner who has the capability to fully leverage our technology for maximum patient benefit,” said Roland Beckman, co-founder and chief scientific officer of Dutalys in a statement. “DutaMabs are suitable for the treatment of numerous disease mechanisms and therapeutics targets, and we are very much looking forward to developing diverse novel therapeutics within the Roche R&D team.”

The acquisition news follows stories of changes in Roche’s corporate structure, with the September story of Art Levinson, formerly a Genentech CEO who resigned from Roche’s board as he took on the role as CEO of Google’s Calico, and the retirement of the head of Genentech’s research operations, Richard Schellar. In addition to those changes, two new members were nominated to Roche’s Board of Directors, former Wyeth CEO Bernard Poussot, and Richard Lifton, a professor of genetics and medicine at Yale University.

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