Roche swoops for Tusk Therapeutics in deal worth up to €655m

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Roche has swooped for Tusk Therapeutics, a UK-based company that has developed an antibody with a novel mode of action aimed to depleting regulatory T-cells (Tregs).

Tregs suppress immune responses, including those against cancer cells. Preclinical data has shown that depleting Tregs from the tumour microenvironment can enhance and/or restore anti-tumour immunity.

Tusk’s antibody has been designed to deplete these harmful Tregs, while not interfering with other immune cells acting against the tumour. This program is expected to start clinical trials in cancer patients towards the end of 2019.

As per the deal, Roche will pay and upfront payment of €70 million and additional milestone payments of up to €585 million.

Tusk CEO Luc Dochez said: “We are delighted that Roche will further develop this novel antibody and drive the development ahead.

“The remaining portfolio of our immune-oncology targets will be further developed by Black Belt Therapeutics, a newly formed company spun out of Tusk Therapeutics.”