Roche has signed a definitive merger agreement for the acquisition of US-based biopharmaceutical company Good Therapeutics for an upfront payment of $250m in cash.

Good Therapeutics focuses on the development of PD-1-regulated IL-2 drugs that are based on innovative conditionally active drug technology.

With the takeover, Roche will attain rights to a conditionally active, PD-1-regulated IL-2 programme of Good Therapeutics.

Additionally, the company will gain the exclusive right to Good Therapeutics’ platform technology to develop PD-1-regulated IL-2 receptor agonist therapies.

Good Therapeutics founder and CEO John Mulligan said: “Good Therapeutics was founded to create a new class of conditionally active therapeutics that will be more effective and avoid the problem of systemic immune activation seen with previous versions of such drugs.

“We have focused on PD-1-IL-2 as a biology that has great potential for benefiting patients.”

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Apart from the upfront payment for Good Therapeutics’ shares on a fully diluted basis, Roche will also make further payments on meeting prespecified development, regulatory and commercial milestones.

On concluding the deal, the Good Therapeutics team intends to leverage its technology to design conditionally active therapies for other immuno-oncology targets and further in a new firm, Bonum Therapeutics.

Roche Pharma Partnering global head James Sabry said: “We are excited to bring Good’s innovative PD-1-regulated IL-2 programme into our existing oncology pipeline, which nicely complements our efforts on next-generation PD-1-targeted IL-2 therapeutics and our broader oncology strategy of providing cancer patients with innovative solutions and improving health outcomes.

“With our proven track record in cancer immunotherapy, we are well-positioned to leverage our deep discovery, development, clinical, and manufacturing capabilities and worldwide reach to potentially bring innovative products from this programme to patients as fast as possible.”

Subject to necessary clearance, the acquisition is anticipated to conclude in the third quarter of this year.

In August, the company entered a strategic partnership and licence agreement with Poseida Therapeutics for developing allogeneic CAR-T cell therapies for hematologic malignancies.