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Roche fully acquires privately-owned biotech company Piramed


- Roche gains access to important oncology target with potential for treating major cancers such as breast and lung; first drug candidate in phase I clinical testing
- Second research programme centred on potential target in inflammatory indications such as rheumatoid arthritis

Roche announced today that it will acquire Piramed Limited, a privately-owned UK company focusing on therapeutics targeting PI3-kinase (PI3-K). The PI3-K pathway is known to play an important role in disease progression and in resistance to chemotherapeutics in cancer cells. Pre-clinical studies have demonstrated the activity of PI3-K inhibitors in a broad range of tumours such as breast and lung cancer, as well as their potential importance in treating inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Through this acquisition, Roche’s R&D pipeline is strengthened by Piramed’s two major research programmes targeting PI3-K-alpha in oncology and PI3K-delta in inflammatory disease. The PI3-K-alpha programme has a compound in phase I of clinical development and is currently being developed in collaboration with Genentech, in whom Roche has a majority ownership interest. The previously unpartnered PI3-K-delta programme, while at a pre-clinical stage, will be integrated into the Roche Group’s rich inflammatory R&D portfolio.

“The integration of Piramed’s promising research and development reaffirms and further strengthens Roche’s leadership in oncology”, said William M. Burns, CEO, Roche Pharmaceuticals Division. “While innovative medicines have undoubtedly transformed cancer treatment, cancer remains a major cause of death and we are committed to investing in the development of new treatment options. In addition, this acquisition augments our research efforts in debilitating diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis”.
Michael Moore, Chief Executive of Piramed, said: “Since Piramed was formed in 2003, we have struck a significant licensing deal with Genentech and advanced our highly promising first oncology product into the clinic. Today’s acquisition by Roche underlines the value of our pipeline and is a testament to the quality of the science developed by our team. With Roche’s undisputed excellence in oncology and inflammatory disease, Piramed has found a secure long term home for some world class science.”

Terms of the agreement
Under the terms of the agreement, Roche will acquire 100% of Piramed’s shares for USD 160 million, plus a milestone payment of USD 15 million, which is due upon the commencement of phase II clinical trials for the company’s oncology programme. The final transaction value will be adjusted by the net cash balance remaining upon closing. Closing of the transaction is subject to standard conditions including review by anti-trust authorities. Completion is expected during the second quarter of 2008.


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