Roche Targets SMA With Acquisition of French Pharma Company
Swiss global health-care company Roche announced just last week that it has purchased Trophos, a privately-owned Marseille, France-based clinical stage pharmaceutical company that specializes in mitochondrial targeted compounds that work to improve the function and survival of stressed cells by preventing mitochondrial permeability transition, hence helping prevent cell death. Roche has taken an interest in Trophos’ proprietary olesoxime (TRO19622), an investigational compound formulated to protect the health of motor nerve cells, and currently under development for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).
“SMA is a grievous disease with a huge impact on the daily life of patients and their families, who are currently left only with supportive care. We are proud to see the development of this medicine evolving, with the ultimate goal of a potential first medicine for SMA,” said Christine Placet, Chief Executive Officer of Trophos. “This is a tremendous recognition of the work done by Trophos’s teams and supporters over the past 16 years.”
A recently concluded Phase II clinical study of olesoxime’s efficacy in SMA demonstrated clinically significant benefits on the preservation of neuromuscular function, particularly in patients with SMA Type II and non-ambulatory Type III. The researchers also observed a reduction in complications of SMA. These results made their debut in the field of neurological research during the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) last April 2014.
“This acquisition highlights Roche’s commitment to developing medicines for spinal muscular atrophy, a serious disease with no effective treatment,” said Sandra Horning, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and Head of Global Product Development at Roche. “We will build on the work done by Trophos and the French Muscular Dystrophy Association to advance the development of olesoxime and to bring it to people who live with this devastating condition as quickly as possible.”
According to the acquisition agreement between the two parties, Trophos’ shareholders will be entitled to an upfront payment of 120 million EUR (139 million USD), along with supplemental milestone payments totalling as much as 350 million EUR (405 million USD).
Olesoxime has been granted ‘Orphan Medicinal Product’ designation for the treatment of SMA by the European Medicines Agency, and orphan drug designation by the US Food and Drug Administration.