Roche has signed a multi-year partnership with US-based biopharmaceutical company PureTech Health for the development of its oral antisense oligonucleotide platform.
The partners will leverage PureTech’s milk-derived exosome platform technology that enables oral administration of complex biological molecules, such as nucleic acids, peptides and small molecules.
PureTech stated that exosomes potentially pass through lymphatic circulation and could facilitate the targeting of immune cells in new approaches.
Under the terms of the agreement, Roche will pay $36m to PureTech in upfront payments, research support and early pre-clinical milestones.
In addition, PureTech is eligible for more than $1bn of potential development-based milestone payments, along with other sales milestones and royalties for certain products.
PureTech Health co-founder and CEO Daphne Zohar said: “We are excited to accelerate the development of this promising technology from our internal lymphatic and immune cell trafficking programmes.
“The expertise and resources that Roche is bringing to the collaboration will help us to potentially address one of the biggest challenges in oligonucleotide-based therapeutic development: oral administration of nucleic acids.”
PureTech focuses on research and development of drugs based on the Brain-Immune-Gut (BIG) Axis. The company primarily works on lymphatics and immune cell trafficking to allow tissue-specific immunity.
Its technology uses used naturally evolved milk-derived exosomes to ensure stability in the physiologic conditions during passage via the stomach and small intestine.
The milk exosomes are said to enable oral bioavailability of macromolecules and complex small molecules.
The company developed the platform in alliance with its academic collaborators, and went on to exclusively licence it.