Roche enters deal to use Lodo Therapeutics' metagenomics platform for drug discovery

Roche's Genentech unit entered an agreement potentially worth nearly $1 billion to utilise Lodo Therapeutics' genome mining and biosynthetic cluster assembly platform to identify molecules with therapeutic potential against multiple disease-related targets, the latter company announced Wednesday.

Under the deal, Genentech will make an undisclosed upfront payment to Lodo, with the latter eligible to receive research, development and commercialisation milestone payments up to $969 million. In addition, Lodo stands to receive tiered-royalties on sales of certain products resulting from the collaboration.

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James Sabry, global head of partnering at Genentech, remarked that the company "is committed to accessing innovative technologies," noting that Lodo's metagenomics technology platform will be used "to potentially discover therapeutics for difficult drug targets." According to Lodo, its genome-based approach exploits microbial evolution to identify novel, naturally occurring compounds with therapeutic potential against cancer and drug-resistant bacterial infections.

Roche has entered into several partnerships in the past year focused on drug discovery technologies, including a deal with DiCE Molecules to jointly develop small molecules against several targets of interest. The Swiss drugmaker is also collaborating with Warp Drive Bio in the discovery and development of antibiotic classes with activity against Gram-negative pathogens, in addition to a pact to use Halozyme Therapeutics' drug-delivery technology to develop subcutaneous versions of injectable therapies.

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