Swiss drug manufacturer Roche and Upsher-Smith Laboratories’ subsidiary Proximagen have collaborated to further development of a new, oral small molecule inhibitor of Vascular Adhesion Protein 1 (VAP-1), a cell-adhesion molecule that may be effective in the treatment of inflammatory diseases.

As part of the deal, Roche secured worldwide exclusive licence for an undisclosed upfront fee to develop and commercialise the VAP-1 inhibitor, which is currently in Phase II clinical development.

In a new collaboration model, Roche and Proximagen will conduct additional Phase II studies to further define the therapeutic potential of the VAP-1 inhibitor.

"This agreement will allow our companies to fully explore the significant and far-reaching potential of this novel VAP-1 inhibitor."

Based on data from these studies, Roche will assume responsibility for late stage development and worldwide commercialisation, while Proximagen will receive an upfront payment, along with downstream development, regulatory and sales milestones.

In addition, Proximagen will receive tiered royalties on net sales of a potential future product containing the molecule.

Upsher-Smith Biotech Research Institute Division president and chief scientific officer William Pullman said: "This agreement will allow our companies to fully explore the significant and far-reaching potential of this novel VAP-1 inhibitor.

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"Roche’s deep expertise in drug development and proven success in commercialisation will allow us to fully explore the unique attributes of this important molecule and the therapeutic benefits it may provide in the future.

"We are pleased to work with Roche on this compound as we share their commitment to patients."

The deal is subject to the expiration or early termination of the applicable US Hart-Scott-Rodino waiting period.

Proximagen acts as Upsher-Smith’s research and early development institute, and was acquired in 2012 for $553m.