Bicycle Therapeutics has signed an agreement with Roche subsidiary Genentech for the discovery, development and commercialisation of immuno-oncology therapies.

The treatments will come from Bicycle Therapeutics’ bicyclic peptide technology.

As part of the strategic alliance, Bicycle will evaluate its technology on different immuno-oncology targets. The work will combine the expertise of both companies.

Bicycle Therapeutics will leverage its discovery platform designed for rapid screening of targets to detect Bicycles. The platform also enables combinations to develop molecules.

Genentech will contribute via its expertise in immuno-oncology drug discovery and target biology, along with its development and commercialisation capabilities.

Bicycle Therapeutics CEO Kevin Lee said: “Our collaboration with Genentech recognises the potential of Bicycle’s differentiated technology, which allows us to specifically direct immune cell stimulators and other payloads to tumours in a highly targeted manner.

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“In addition, the flexibility of the Bicycle platform enables rapid exploration of structure-activity relationships to fully optimise candidate molecules.”

The terms of the deal cover discovery and pre-clinical development of Bicycle-based immunotherapies against various targets.

Bicycle Therapeutics will carry out discovery research and early pre-clinical development up to candidate selection. Genentech will assume development and commercialisation responsibility following the candidate selection.

Roche Pharma Partnering global head James Sabry said: “Bicycles represent a novel therapeutic modality and have shown promise as modulators of several types of tumour-killing immune cells.

“By leveraging Genentech’s deep understanding of cancer immunology and Bicycle’s technological expertise, we hope to create a new wave of immunotherapy options to expand the population of patients who could potentially benefit from this powerful treatment paradigm.”

According to the agreement, Genentech will make a $30m upfront payment to Bicycle Therapeutics, which is also eligible for up to $1.7bn in discovery, development, regulatory and commercial milestones.

Bicycle Therapeutics will also gain tiered royalties on Bicycle-based therapies commercialised by Genentech.

Last July, Genentech entered into a drug discovery partnership with Sosei Heptares.