Genentech Takes Jecure Therapeutics

  • Genentech Takes Jecure Therapeutics (c) Alexander Raths/ShutterstockGenentech Takes Jecure Therapeutics (c) Alexander Raths/Shutterstock

Genentech, part of Swiss drugs giant Roche, has agreed to buy Jecure Therapeutics, a US biotech focused on discovering novel treatments for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and liver  fibrosis. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The deal gives Genentech full rights to Jecure’s entire preclinical portfolio of NLRP3 inhibitors. NLRP3 is a protein that plays a role in triggering certain inflammasomes – protein complexes that cause the body to release inflammatory interleukins to fight infection. When this process goes wrong, it results in harmful inflammation that can be found in a wide range of disorders, including NASH, liver fibrosis, gout, inflammatory bowel disease and cardiovascular diseases.

"We've had a long-standing interest in targeting inflammatory pathways that may play a role in a number of serious diseases," said James Sabry, Roche’s global head of pharma partnering. "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."

San Diego, California-based Jecure started operations in 2015 with seed financing from founding investor Versant Ventures. The company raised $20 million in a Series A round from Versant in 2017 to continue to develop and advance its portfolio of NLRP3 inhibitors.

The company joins a host of drugmakers that have set their sights on NASH in the belief that it will become a very lucrative market given that the disorder is linked to obesity and diabetes. In October, Novartis and Pfizer announced they were collaborating to develop treatments for NASH.

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