Roche will help Upsher-Smith Laboratories co-develop its Phase II oral small molecule inhibitor of Vascular Adhesion Protein 1 (VAP-1) for inflammatory disease, the companies said today, through a collaboration whose value was not disclosed.

Under the collaboration, Upsher-Smith granted Roche a worldwide exclusive license to develop and commercialize the compound. Upsher-Smith’s wholly owned U.K. subsidiary Proximagen will team up with Roche to conduct additional Phase II studies in order “to further define the therapeutic potential of the VAP-1 inhibitor,” the companies said.

Based on the resulting clinical data, the companies said, Roche will agree to oversee late-stage development and worldwide commercialization. In return, Proximagen would receive an upfront payment along with payments tied to development, regulatory, and sales milestones, all undisclosed. Proximagen would also receive tiered royalties on net sales of a potential future product containing the molecule, the companies said.

“This agreement is a novel partnering model where regulatory responsibility and trial sponsorship will only transition upon the success of additional clinical studies,” Sophie Kornowski-Bonnet, Ph.D., head of Roche Partnering, said in a statement.

Dr. Kornowski-Bonnet added that a team of researchers based at the pharma giant’s Roche Innovation Center New York will work to co-develop the VAP-1 inhibitor.

“Roche's deep expertise in drug development and proven success in commercialization will allow us to fully explore the unique attributes of this important molecule and the therapeutic benefits it may provide in the future,” William Pullman, Ph.D., Upsher-Smith’s CSO and president of its Biotech Research Institute Division, said in a statement.

Upsher-Smith acquired Promaxigen in 2012, for a reported $555 million. Proximagen and its predecessor companies have long specialized in discovery and development of small molecules for CNS, pain, and inflammation indications.


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