Roche partners with Kineta to develop non-opioid pain therapy

Roche's Genentech unit entered into an exclusive licence agreement to develop Kineta's portfolio of α9/α10 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) antagonists for the treatment of chronic neuropathic pain, the latter announced Monday. Under the agreed terms, Roche will pay Kineta an undisclosed upfront payment and milestone payments of up to $359 million.

As part of the agreement, Genentech will hold an option to licence assets, after which the drugmaker will be responsible for all future developmental and commercialisation activities. Genentech will additionally pay Kineta high single to low double-digit royalties on the sales of specific products developed under the collaboration.

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Kineta described α9/α10 nAChR as a novel target for treating chronic neuropathic data, with CEO Shawn Iadonato remarking "by collaborating with Genentech, we expect to accelerate the development of our…novel non-opioid therapy for patients." In February last year, Kineta reported that the experimental drug KCP-400, an antagonist of α9α10 nAChR, demonstrated "robust" chronic pain relief and disease modifying effects in preclinical pain models.

According to Kineta, KCP-400, which is derived from the venom of the small cone snail Conus regius, showed continued pain relief for 72 hours after being injected. At the time, the company indicated that it plans to move the compound into Phase I studies in mid-2018.

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