Roche to acquire RNA therapeutics company Santaris Pharma for up to $450 million

Roche said Monday that it reached an agreement to acquire Santaris Pharma under a deal worth up to $450 million, gaining the latter's proprietary Locked Nucleic Acid (LNA) platform. John C. Reed, head of Roche Pharma Research and Early Development, remarked "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."

According to Roche, Santaris' platform can "rapidly deliver drug candidates against both mRNA and microRNA," allowing researchers to develop therapeutics that "are difficult, or impossible, to target with contemporary drug platforms such as antibodies and small molecules." Under the transaction, which is expected to close this month, Roche will pay $250 million in cash upfront, in addition to $200 million in further milestone payments. As part of the agreement, the Swiss drugmaker intends to maintain Santaris' operations in Copenhagen, Denmark, which will be renamed Roche Innovation Center Copenhagen.

In January, Roche and Santaris signed a global collaboration to discover and develop RNA-targeted medicines across several disease areas using the LNA drug platform. The same month, Santaris entered an agreement with GlaxoSmithKline to develop RNA-targeted medicines against up to three targets.

To read more Top Story articles, click here.