New Delhi-based Curadev Pharma inked an exclusive license agreement with Roche for the development and commercialization of IDO1 and TDO inhibitors in a deal that could net the Indian company more than $555 million. The agreement covers the development of the lead preclinical immune tolerance inhibitor and a collaboration with Roche's research and early development organization to further extend Curadev's findings.

As part of the agreement, Roche will pay Curadev $25 million upfront and the company is eligible to receive up to $530 million in milestone payments. Curadev is also eligible for milestones and royalties on any other products resulting from the collaboration. Roche will fund future research, development, manufacturing, and commercialization costs and will also provide additional research funding to Curadev for support of the research collaboration.

According to Curadev, IDO1 (indoleamine-2, 3-dioxygenase-1) and TDO (tryptophan-2, 3-dioxygenase) are enzymes that mediate cancer-induced immune suppression. This mechanism is exploited by tumor cells as well as certain type of immune cells, limiting the antitumor immune response, the company said. 

Dual inhibition of the IDO1 and TDO pathways can maintain the immune response, prevent local tumor immune escape, and potentially avoid resistance to other immunotherapies when used in combination, leading to new cancer treatment options. Curadev said its preclinical lead-compound, a small molecule that has shown potent inhibition of the two rate-limiting enzymes in the tryptophan–kynurenine metabolic pathways, has the potential for mono therapy as well as combination with Roche's broad oncology pipeline and portfolio.

This is the latest in a string of cancer immunotherapy deals from Roche in recent years. The pharma giant has also collaborated with Immatics, Inovio, and AbbVie. See details in GEN’s latest list: Sweet 16 Top Cancer Immunotherapy Developers

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