Roche and Genentech are always on the hunt for deals, and on Thursday they found their newest partner.
The pair will team up with the Chinese pharma company Jemincare to push forward a new program for prostate cancer, the companies announced. Roche is ponying up $60 million upfront to get its hands on the candidate and promising up to $590 million in biobucks, plus royalties, down the line.
In return, Genentech will get a worldwide license to develop the program, known as JMKX002992, and bring it to market.
Jemincare initially developed the program based on PROTAC technology, according to its website. It’s an oral, small molecule degrader of the androgen receptor, a popular target in prostate cancer with a long R&D history. Several approved prostate cancer drugs, such as Pfizer’s Xtandi and J&J’s Erleada, are designed to inhibit the receptor.
But Jemincare went with the degradation route, hoping to treat patients whose cancers developed resistances to other therapies. JMKX002992 is one of Jemincare’s four oncology programs currently in the pipeline, on top of experimental renal cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and FIC drugs.
The Chinese pharma is also working in other disease areas, developing programs for kidney disease, respiratory disease and pain. Thus far, Jemincare has clinched five drug approvals in China, including another prostate cancer drug in Androblok.
Additionally, Jemincare is partnered with Orion to develop a selective NaV 1.8 blocker to treat acute and chronic pain.
Thursday’s move comes on the heels of another deal for Roche and Genentech. Earlier this month, the pair signed on to a Phase II program from Kiniksa, paying $80 million upfront and another $20 million in near-term payments. If everything works out in that deal, Kiniksa could earn up to $600 million in milestones.