Roche doubles down on cytokines

After disappointments with IL-2 projects, big pharma would be forgiven for giving this approach a swerve. Not so Roche, which today purchased Good Therapeutics for $250m up front to get its hands on that group’s PD-1-regulated IL-2 programme. It will not have gone unnoticed that Roche already has a PD-1-targeted IL-2 asset, RG6279, in phase 1. Perhaps the Swiss group is looking for something even more selective: Good has made much of the fact that so-called conditionally active therapeutics only work when bound to a target molecule. And improved selectivity could widen the therapeutic window for IL-2s, which have been dogged by toxicity. It will be interesting to see if any Good-originated projects can outdo RG6279, but presumably any showdown is some way off, with the former still preclinical. Meanwhile, Good will spin off a new company, Bonum Therapeutics, to work on assets with “other targets in immuno-oncology and beyond” – Good’s pipeline lists PD-L1 and CEA-regulated interferon-alpha as its next most-advanced projects, and the group has mentioned autoimmune diseases, metabolic disease and pain management as potential avenues outside cancer.

To read Evaluate Vantage’s latest report on the IL-2/IL-15 space, click here.

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