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Apr 15, 2008

Roche Pays $160M for Piramed Gaining Early Oncology and Inflammatory Disease Programs

  • Roche has decided to buy Piramed for $160 million to expand its early-stage cancer pipeline. Roche will pay an additional $15 million as a milestone fee upon the start of a Phase II trial for Piramed’s oncology program. Roche expects to close the transaction during the second quarter.

    Piramed’s R&D focus has been on therapeutics targeting PI3-kinase (PI3K). Piramed has a program targeting PI3K-delta for inflammatory diseases in the preclinical stage and is also working on PI3K-alpha for oncology indications. The oncology program has a Phase I compound, which is being partnered by Genentech, in whom Roche has a majority ownership interest.

    Roche has been busy picking up companies to beef up different segments of its franchise. Most recently, Roche finalized a deal to take over Ventana Medical Systems for $3.4 billion to pad its diagnostics interest. Last year, Roche spent around $1.08 billion to acquire NimbleGen, BioVeris, Therapeutic Human Polyclonals, and 454 Life Sciences.



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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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