Roche has entered the league of pharmaceutical corporations with a hope to claim a share of the marketplace for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) drugs, by entering an acquisition deal with US start-up firm Jecure Therapeutics. The takeover terms are not disclosed; however, Roche is expected to receive the portfolio of NLRP3 inhibitors “inflammasomes”, protein complexes used for the cellular inflammatory responses. This is at currently at preclinical studies.
NASH is one of the highly researched disease areas now and is one of the untapped Market in the pharmaceutical industry. The increase in prevalence of obesity and diabetes has increased the risk of development of NASH and with progresses with the viral hepatitis treatment, it is likely to be the foremost reason of liver transplants cases in another two years. Many companies are competing to offer effective therapies to the disease by addressing the unmet need. Roche is on stage with other players in the market to develop drugs for NASH and other liver disorders.
This is expected to intensify the competition for Ocaliva by Intercept in phase 3 for primary biliary cirrhosis, and GS-9674 by Gilead Sciences which was completed phase 2. GS-9674 is currently being tested in combinations with other drugs. Novartis and Pfizer also joined the league to test three drugs in combination.
James Sabry, the head of pharma partnering for Roche stated the “We’ve had a long-standing interest in targeting inflammatory pathways that may play a role in a number of serious diseases. We’re excited to combine Jecure’s portfolio with our discovery and development capabilities, as well as our expertise in NLRP3 biology, to potentially help people with inflammatory diseases.”
– Rikitha K Murthy,