Roche Partnering at BIO 2017:  Creating value through transformative partnerships 

At Roche, we have long valued external innovation as a critical component of our R&D strategy. A significant proportion of our sales is driven by products born of research partnerships, and more than 40 % of our current pipeline comprises partnered products. Now, more than ever, collaborations are critical to realise the potential of personalised healthcare as well as enhance our pipeline in key disease areas. We have entered exceptional alliances across our therapeutic, diagnostic and technological areas, helping us better understand and leverage complex biology, find new drug candidates, and make best use of a growing volume of genomic and real-world data. 

Partnering at Roche builds on our culture, one in which we listen carefully to a potential partner and then creatively structure a collaboration that meets both parties’ needs. Our choice is driven by the search for partners that share our passion for innovative science. We look for first-in-class or best-in-class opportunities that address unmet medical need and have the potential to revolutionise the standard of care. We also keep our fingers on the pulse of emerging science through global alliances with leading academic and entrepreneurial investigators to develop new molecules, invent new research tools and further advance our understanding of disease mechanisms. Whether small or large, we value partnerships equally. Together, we are building a better future with our partners to find medicines that make a real difference to patients.

When you partner with Roche, the deal is just the beginning; the ultimate goal is to develop new medicines that make a real difference to patients.
Sophie Kornowski-Bonnet, Head of Roche Partnering and member of the Corporate Executive Committee

Here are two examples of partnerships which we believe truly create value:

New approach to treat autoimmune diseases

Significant unmet medical need remains across many inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Roche entered into a partnership with ImmuNext for the development of VISTA checkpoint agonists. VISTA checkpoint agonists represent a novel approach in engaging a natural brake in the immune system to treat inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. 

Modulation of immune checkpoints such as PD-1 has been pursued in oncology in an attempt to turn on the immune system to attack cancer cells.  In inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, the opposite approach is desired whereby negative immune checkpoints such as VISTA are activated to down-regulate an over-active immune system, to restore homeostasis.

We are excited about the partnership with Roche which represents one of the first industry partnerships to develop VISTA agonists for autoimmune disease
David DeLucia, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ImmuNext.

Fighting cancer using a novel cell engineering technology

Roche also entered into a partnership with SQZ Biotech to develop a cell therapy platform that would empower a patient’s own immune cells to fight a broad range of cancers. The novel approach builds on SQZ’s pioneering technology to engineer B cells and has the potential to overcome many of the shortcomings of current cell-based therapies.

Roche’s reputation for excellence in oncology made this partnership the natural choice for advancing our promising cell therapy platform
Armon Sharei , co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SQZ.

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Tags: Science, Innovation