Roche, PTC Therapeutics to partner on CNS drug discovery

Roche entered into an exclusive research and licensing agreement with PTC Therapeutics for the development of orally bioavailable small molecules for central nervous system disease targets, the biopharmaceutical company announced Wednesday. Christer Nordstedt, head of CNS discovery at Roche, said use of PTC's GEMS technology for the identification of small molecules "will enable Roche to address important disease mechanisms that were intractable with conventional approaches."

Under the terms of the collaboration, which will focus initially on four CNS targets, Roche will make an upfront payment of $12 million in cash to PTC and also fund the company's research efforts. PTC is eligible to receive additional payments of as much as $239 million per target if certain R&D, regulatory and sales milestones are reached, and could also receive up to double-digit royalties for all products stemming from the collaboration. Roche has the option to add four targets to the agreement across therapeutic areas for additional payments, PTC explained.

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