Shape Therapeutics has signed a multi-target strategic partnership and licence agreement with Roche to develop gene therapy for specific targets in Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and rare disease areas.

The deal means Shape is eligible to more than $3bn from Roche in initial and potential payments on meeting development, regulatory and sales milestones.

Shape is also entitled to tiered royalty payments on future sales of products developed through the partnership.

The alliance will use Shape’s RNA editing platform, RNAfix, and the AAVid technology platform for tissue-specific adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) to create gene therapy for neuroscience and rare disease indications.

Shape Therapeutics co-founder and CEO Francois Vigneault said: “Our mission at Shape is to unlock the next breakthrough in RNA technologies in the gene therapy space across a wide range of therapeutic areas.

“The relationship with Roche quickly centred on a common desire to tackle some of the world’s most challenging diseases by accelerating the development of breakthrough technologies towards the clinic.”

Shape will oversee the preclinical research to detect and offer development candidates discovered using its artificial intelligence (AI)-driven RNAfix and AAVid platforms.

Roche will lead the development and global marketing of any products potentially developed through the alliance.

Roche Pharma Partnering head James Sabry said: “This new collaboration is also perfectly aligned with our broader efforts across the Roche Group to unlock the full potential of gene therapy.

“We look forward to working with Shape to create novel treatment options for neuroscience and rare disease indications.”

Last month, Roche reported an 8% increase in group sales to $33.46bn (CHF30.71bn) at constant exchange rates (CER) in the first half (H1) of 2021, against $31.81bn (CHF29.28bn) in H1 of last year.

Cell & Gene Therapy Coverage on Pharmaceutical Technology supported by Cytiva.

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