Swiss pharma giant Roche acquired Ireland’s Inflazome and its NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitors aimed at multiple inflammatory diseases for €380 million (about $451 million) in an upfront payment.
This morning, Inflazome announced the deal, which provides Roche with full rights to the company’s portfolio of oral NLRP3 small molecule inflammasome inhibitors. In addition to the upfront payment, Inflazome shareholders are eligible for additional milestone payments based on future clinical and regulatory achievements.
The deal for Inflazome comes two months after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted Orphan Drug Designation for Inzomelid in the treatment of Cryopyrin-Associated Periodic Syndrome (CAPS), which are three diseases related to a defect in the NLRP3 gene. CAPS encompasses neonatal-onset multisystem inflammatory disease (NOMID), Muckle-Wells syndrome (MWS) and familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome (FCAS).
In March 2020, Inflazome announced positive results with Inzomelid in CAPS, alongside the completion of a broader Phase I study that demonstrated excellent safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics in healthy subjects. A follow-on Phase II trial is planned for this year to develop the dose for CAPS patients.
Inzomelid isn’t the company’s only clinical-stage asset. Also in March, the company’s other NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitor, Somalix, completed a Phase I safety and tolerability study. Somalix, an orally available, peripherally-restricted drug for inflammatory diseases, also demonstrated excellent safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics in healthy subjects and is expected to enter Phase II trials sometime this year.
Inflazome isn’t the only company diving into NLRP3. Boston-based IFM Therapeutics subsidiary IFM Tre was acquired by Novartis to expand research into that area.