US-based Lodo Therapeutics has entered a drug discovery alliance with Genentech, a subsidiary of Roche , to discover possible therapeutic molecules for multiple disease-related targets.

Genentech will get access to Lodo’s metagenomics-based drug discovery platform and will in turn pay an undisclosed upfront payment.

Lodo will receive up to $969m in research, development and commercialisation payments upon reaching select milestones.

The firm is further eligible for tiered-royalties on sales of some products resulting from the alliance.

Genentech Partnering senior vice-president and global head James Sabry said: “Genentech is committed to accessing innovative technologies and we are excited to collaborate with Lodo Therapeutics to apply their Metagenomics Technology Platform to potentially discover therapeutics for difficult drug targets.”

"Lodo Therapeutics’s proprietary drug discovery platform is a powerful engine for identifying novel compounds with important therapeutic potential."

Lodo’s genome mining and biosynthetic cluster assembly platform uses the information on microbial DNA sequence information present in soil to find naturally occurring compounds with therapeutic potential.

Such natural compounds contain small molecule drugs that can be used to treat cancer, infections and chronic illnesses. The metagenomics technique is expected to minimise the time and cost associated with the discovery of these molecules.

Lodo Therapeutics CEO Thong Le said: “Lodo Therapeutics’s proprietary drug discovery platform is a powerful engine for identifying novel compounds with important therapeutic potential.

“We are incredibly excited to work with Genentech, and we look forward to demonstrating the power and utility of Lodo’s unique technology for the benefit of global human health.”