Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche’s drug development crusade for degenerative disease treatment has gained a notable ally. A $3 billion partnership with biotechnology company Shape Therapeutics will bring Shape’s RNA editing platform, RNAfix, to Roche’s toolkit. In the fight against diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, RNAfix and Shape’s AAVid technology platform will be invaluable. Roche will be able to generate targeted gene therapies provisioned with next-generation tissue-specific adeno-associated viruses.
It will be Shape’s prerogative to handle the preclinical research duties meant to determine and deliver prime candidates for refinement through its platforms. Then, the baton is passed to Roche for clinical progression. Any product spawned from this union of companies will have its commercialization process managed entirely by Roche.
Recent history has seen Roche dip its toes into several gene therapy investments. In 2019, Spark Therapeutics was soaked up for its Luxturna gene therapy and its hemophilia gene therapy pipeline that augments Hemlibra. Roche chose Dyno Therapeutics as a partner in 2020 to assist in developing advanced AAV vectors for gene therapies intended to treat central nervous system diseases. CEVEC Pharma of Germany provided its AAV vector manufacturing technology ELEVECTA in a strategic partnership established that same year.