Roche agrees to buy Good Therapeutics
Good's IL-2 receptor plays an important role in regulating lymphocytes
The Swiss pharma group has agreed to buy Seattle-based biotech Good Therapeutics and its preclinical-stage PD-1 regulated IL-2 receptor agonist programme for $250 million upfront, with undisclosed milestone payments on offer tied to development, regulatory, and commercial objectives.
Roche’s activity in this area is represented by RG6279, an anti-PD01 antibody fused to an engineered, variant form of IL-2, which is currently in Phase I clinical testing. These drugs are designed to eliminate tumours by stimulating a local immune response with IL-2 via natural killer cells and cytotoxic T cells, and removing a brake on the immune system by blocking PD-1. Good’s lead drug is due to start clinical testing next year.
IL-2 is one of the key cytokines with pleiotropic effects on the immune system. It has been approved for the treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma and metastatic melanoma. Recent progress has been made in understanding IL-2’s role in regulating lymphocytes, which has led to exciting new directions for cancer immunotherapy.
A recombinant form of IL-2 has been used as a therapeutic for melanoma and renal cell carcinoma (RCC) for many years, under the Proleukin (aldesleukin) name. This has led many developers to find drugs that can retain the cancerfighting properties of the cytokine but avoid its toxicity, which is mediated through the IL-2 alpha receptor – according to Pharma Phorum.