Roche has entered into an exclusive partnership with Inception Sciences and Versant Ventures to create Inception 5, a new company dedicated to the research and development of small molecule remyelinating therapies for patients with multiple sclerosis.

The collaboration will focus on screening and developing small molecule therapies that aim to promote remyelination of nerve sheaths damaged as a result of multiple sclerosis disease progression. Inception 5 will build on recent discoveries in the field and a remyelination screening platform developed by investigators at the University of California, San Francisco. The company will pursue multiple molecular targets for remyelination that have already been identified. Versant will provide equity financing and Roche will fund the research based on a series of milestones. Roche retains an exclusive option to acquire Inception 5 upon a first lead compound reaching the filing stage of an investigational new drug application.

“This deal represents the second build-to-buy newco we have jointly created with Versant Ventures and drug hunters at Inception Sciences,” said Shafique Virani, Global Head of Neuroscience Partnering at Roche. “The unique deal construct lends itself well to exploring exciting, groundbreaking new science and jointly de-risking early stage research with Versant/Inception.”

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