How Roche Partnering succeeds in the quest for innovation

External partnerships are a cornerstone of Roche’s R&D strategy to transform novel ideas into medicines.

The story behind many of Roche’s most successful drugs begins with a successful partnership. Nearly 40 percent of Pharma sales come from partnered drugs and more than a third of the new medicines in our pipeline come from external collaborations. Roche Partnering (RP) currently manages about 190 alliances around the world.

So how does Roche find promising new molecules and form collaborations with the people who created them? The guiding principles for the RP teams are to seek partners that will complement or reinforce our in-house expertise and to remain open to compelling new opportunities fully aligned with Roche’s R&D and Pharma strategies. RP doesn’t just look at new drugs, however. It also evaluates drug delivery systems, technology platforms and even gene therapy delivery systems.

Roche has an impressive track record of successful alliances and is a partner of choice for biotechnology companies and research institutes worldwide. Partners highly value Roche’s excellence in science, world-leading position in both pharmaceuticals and diagnostics, flexible approach to deal structure, depth of global commercial experience, and state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities.

Our company is a highly esteemed partner within the industry. A recently published survey put Roche at the top of the popularity scale when it comes to biomedical cooperation. I consider this to be a strong strategic competitive advantage for our company.
Christoph Franz, Roche Chairman.

Our combined expertise in drug development and diagnostics played a key role in the 2015 decision by Foundation Medicine, Inc. (FMI), and Roche to form a strategic partnership.

FMI, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, focuses on generating in-depth genomic data on cancers, with the aim of providing physicians with clinically valuable information and of helping patients receive the most effective treatment. With next-generation DNA sequencing, it has already profiled the cancer genomes of more than 43,000 patients. FMI’s Interactive Cancer Explorer brings additional data-based services to physicians by linking these genomic profiles of patients’ tumours with patient outcome data.

Jason Coloma

“We believe that this kind of molecular information is going to advance our personalised healthcare (PHC) strategy by improving the way we deliver diagnostics and therapies to patients,” says Jason Coloma, Head of Oncology and Cancer Immunotherapy Partnering.

In infectious diseases, another of our areas of interest, Roche is partnering with Fedora Pharmaceuticals and Meiji Seika Pharma to develop an investigational new compound created to fight drug-resistant bacteria.

Christopher G. Micetich, CEO of Fedora

Several companies had a strong interest in forming an alliance, but Meiji and Fedora believed Roche was the right partner to develop their new drug. “This collaboration with Fedora and Meiji fits well into our strategy of developing the next generation of innovative antibiotics,” says Lesley Bester, RP Director of Global Business Development for the Infectious Diseases and Immunology Partnering team.

Alliances such as these may often last many years, so RP focuses on building and maintaining strong relationships with partners. “When you partner with Roche, the deal is just the beginning; the ultimate goal is new medicines for patients,” says Sophie Kornowski-Bonnet, Head of Roche Partnering and member of the Corporate Executive Committee.

Tags: Partnering, Innovation, Society