Swiss firm Roche Group’s affiliate Genentech has agreed to acquire US biotechnology company Jecure Therapeutics to strengthen its position in the treatment of liver diseases.
Based in San Diego, California, US, Jecure is involved in drug discovery for the treatment of serious inflammatory diseases, including non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and liver fibrosis.
The proposed acquisition will give Genentech full rights to Jecure’s entire preclinical portfolio of Receptor Family Pyrin Domain Containing Protein 3 (NLRP3) inhibitors similar to nucleotide-binding oligomerisation.
The NLRP3 inhibitors are being developed to treat inflammatory and autoimmune disorders such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), liver fibrosis, gout, inflammatory bowel disease and cardiovascular diseases.
Jecure Therapeutics president and CEO Jeffrey Stafford said: “Genentech has an extensive history of translating pioneering science into transformative medicines. The acquisition of Jecure provides a unique opportunity to bring novel NLRP3 inhibitors to patients.”
The company started operations in 2015 with backing from founding investor Versant Ventures. Last year, it secured $20m in a Series A financing round from Versant to continue the development of its portfolio of NLRP3 inhibitors.
Roche Pharma Partnering global head James Sabry said: “We’ve had a long-standing interest in targeting inflammatory pathways that may play a role in a number of serious diseases.
“We’re excited to combine Jecure’s portfolio with our discovery and development capabilities, as well as our expertise in NLRP3 biology, to potentially help people with inflammatory diseases.”
The financial details of the transaction were not disclosed by the parties.
Last month, Roche’s rivals Novartis and Pfizer joined forces to develop treatments for NASH.