Monday, December 11, 2006

Genentech in Deal for a New Drug

Genentech in Deal for a New Drug
Biotech giant inks $300 million licensing agreement with Swiss firm for Alzheimer's antibody.
By Steve Johnson/Mercury News

Biotechnology giant Genentech has signed a licensing deal worth up to $300 million for a potential Alzheimer's disease treatment being developed by AC Immune of Switzerland, the companies announced Thursday.
The deal involves AC Immune's early-stage research into fighting Alzheimer's by coaxing the patient's immune system to create antibodies against the beta amyloid protein, which causes a sticky plaque believed to inhibit brain functions.

South San Francisco-based Genentech already has a variety of treatments for everything from cancer and psoriasis to arthritis and asthma.

Even so, "we're always open to pursuing research in other areas," said Genentech spokeswoman Caroline Pecquet. "This is just part of our business development strategy."

In October, Genentech announced it would pay CGI Pharmaceuticals of Branford, Conn., up to $500 million for treatments CGI is developing for cancer and autoimmune ailments. And in July, Genentech announced a similar deal worth up to $405 million with Inotek Pharmaceuticals of Beverly, Mass., for a cancer treatment Inotek is working on.

Under the licensing deal with AC Immune, Genentech will make payments potentially totaling $300 million if AC Immune meets milestones in developing the Alzheimer's treatment.

The companies didn't explain what those milestones were. They also did not disclose how much money South San Francisco-based Genentech would pay initially or the length of the licensing arrangement. Genentech has a manufacturing facility in Vacaville.

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