FDAnews Drug Daily Bulletin

Roche Adds Antibody Discovery Platform With THP Acquisition

April 11, 2007

Roche expanded its preclinical drug-discovery platforms with a $56.5 million acquisition of Therapeutic Human Polyclonals (THP), the firm said.

The acquisition, announced April 2, is effective immediately and will integrate THP's Penzberg, Germany, employees into Roche's Penzberg-based Center of Excellence for Protein Research operation. THP's Mountain View, Calif., office will be closed.

A Roche spokesperson said that the acquisition complements the firm's drug-discovery efforts for both monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies. When asked if the platform will be applied to Roche's current products in clinical testing, the firm said the technology has a lot of potential for widespread application to antibodies in general.

"THP has developed a unique transgenic mammalian platform to create human antibodies. The technology will enable the generation of both monoclonal and polyclonal antibody therapeutics with enhanced efficacy," Roche said.

The acquisition is in line with Roche's strategy to engage firms that complement its existing pipeline, the company said, adding that smaller firms focused on oncology, virology, the central nervous system, inflammation and metabolic diseases are attractive candidates for potential acquisitions, partnerships or licensing agreements.