Roche Abandons Spanish Cancer Epigenetics Drug

Roche has decided to terminate its license agreement with Spanish biotech Oryzon Genomics after rearranging its portfolio priorities.

Oryzon Genomics, a biotech based in Barcelona working on epigenetics, was notified yesterday by Roche about the discontinuation of their deal concerning the biotech’s lead candidate, ORY-1001. Roche announced the decision was not based on clinical data, but rather a rearrangement of its pipeline priorities.

The news is a hard blow for Oryzon, most of whose revenues came from the agreement with Roche. The total so far amounted for $42M (€36M) in upfront and milestone payments. Accordingly, the stock has dropped by 27% since the announcement.

Without a partner to cover the costs of clinical development, Oryzon will now have to assume the risks of running the clinical development of ORY-1001 by itself or find a new partner that wants to take up Roche’s scraps. The drug candidate, a lysine specific demethylase-1 inhibitor, had already successfully completed a Phase I study in acute leukemia.


Image via Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko

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