Medical Innovation Exchange

Roche adds to Genentech's ophthalmology program with $720M in biobucks for Lineage Cell Therapeutics' asset

Roche’s Genentech has signed what could be a $720 million deal for Lineage Cell Therapeutics’ cell therapy for a range of eye disorders.

Lineage is developing a retinal pigment epithelium cell therapy in dry age-related macular degeneration (dry AMD) with geographic atrophy. The treatment, dubbed OpRegen, is currently in a phase 1/2 study for the eye disorder. The small biotech will complete work on that study and hand things over to Genentech.

The Big Pharma is offering $50 million upfront, $620 in milestones plus royalties down the line, according to a Monday release. Genentech will continue clinical development and commercialization of the OpRegen program, and Lineage will continue to have certain manufacturing involvement through the deal.

This will be the latest asset to join Genentech’s ophthalmology program, which includes treatments for wet AMD, geographic atrophy, diabetic macular edema (DME) and glaucoma. The Roche unit focuses on conditions that cause significant vision loss.

RELATED: Roche’s Eylea rival poised for FDA filings with new phase 3 data

Genentech has nine treatments in development in ophthalmology, including faricimab in DME, wet AMD and retinal vein occlusion. The drug is being positioned as a rival to Regeneron’s blockbuster Eylea, with a robust phase 3 clinical program. In February, Roche reported that faricimab matched Eylea in DME and wet AMD while allowing patients to go longer between injections than the incumbent treatment.

Lineage will continue to work on programs in spinal cord injury and oncology and make a few new announcements in other diseases, according to CEO Brian Culley.


Annalee Armstrong

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