Swiss Roche has announced that the company has agreed to acquire Danish biopharmaceutical firm Santaris Pharma for USD 450 million.
The plan is to expand discovery and development of RNA-targeting medicines. Santaris Pharma has pioneered its proprietary Locked Nucleic Acid (LNA) platform that has contributed to an emerging era of RNA-targeting therapeutics, according to Roche which states that this new class of medicines has the potential to address difficult to treat diseases in a range of therapeutic areas.
“Today there are many disease targets that are very challenging or even impossible to reach with small molecules or antibodies. We believe the LNA platform provides the means to efficiently discover and develop an important new class of medicines that may address the significant needs of patients across multiple therapeutic areas,” said John C. Reed, Head of Roche Pharma Research and Early Development.
J. Donald deBethizy, President and CEO of Santaris Pharma, commented: “Roche and Santaris Pharma have complementary capabilities that will help us realize breakthrough medicines. The acquisition combines Santaris Pharma’s next-generation antisense technology and LNA expertise with Roche’s deep experience in disease biology, chemistry, drug safety, drug formulation, delivery, and development.”
According to a press release from Roche, the acquisition, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close in August 2014. Roche plan is to maintain Santaris Pharma’s operations in Denmark where the existing site will be renamed Roche Innovation Center Copenhagen.
Roche will make an upfront cash payment of USD 250 million to Santaris Pharma shareholders and make additional contingent payments of up to USD 200 million based on the achievement of certain predetermined milestones.
Image: John C. Reed, Head of Roche Pharma Research and Early Development