Roche and Synosis Therapeutics Announce Partnership to Explore Potential of Five Compounds Targeting the Central Nervous System

BASEL, Switzerland and SAN FRANCISCO, CA, USA | Jan 04, 2006 | 
  Roche and Synosis Therapeutics today announced a new partnership that could lead to the development of treatments for schizophrenia, cognitive disorders, Parkinson's, drug dependency and pain.

The broad partnership centres on five drug candidates that Synosis will acquire from Roche, including four phase 1 molecules, which target the central nervous system (CNS). Roche had discontinued the development of these compounds in previous reprioritization processes. Under the terms of the deal, Synosis will be responsible for the clinical development and, in some cases, commercialisation of the drug candidates in multiple indications. Roche will retain the right to opt-in to two pre-selected programs. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"By partnering with Synosis, we're giving these potential medicines the best chance of success by creatively extending our innovation base in an important therapeutic area," said Peter Hug, Roche's Global Head of Pharma Partnering. "There is a real need for new treatments for CNS diseases, such as schizophrenia and Parkinson's, and we're excited by the potential of this partnership."

Dr Ian Massey, Chief Executive Officer of Synosis Therapeutics said: "Roche has a long and distinguished record in the field of CNS discovery. Our combined understanding of the possibilities of these programs in addition to Synosis' focus on translational medicine gives us the opportunity to explore their full therapeutic potential."

One of the founding investors Brad Bolzon, Managing Director of Versant Ventures, said:

"Unlike the traditional licensing model, this deal shows how venture capitalists and pharma can build partnerships based on a whole portfolio of promising clinical-stage drug candidates. This investment should unlock the potential value of these compounds in new indications."

Terms of the Agreement

Under the terms of the agreement, Synosis will assume responsibility for the clinical development of the five drug candidates. Roche retains the right to opt-in to potential products resulting from two of these programs on completion of agreed milestones. Synosis retains full commercial rights to three pre-selected programs and can bring these products to market either alone or with a partner. Financial terms were not disclosed.

About Synosis Therapeutics

Synosis Therapeutics is a privately-owned, drug development company, focused on developing new treatments for disorders of the central nervous system. Its leadership team has over 180 years of combined experience in drug development, including senior roles at Roche and Novartis. Synosis has offices in Basel, Switzerland, and is headquartered in South San Francisco, CA. The company was spun out of EuroVentures Inc., a wholly-owned incubator of Versant Ventures. Synosis Therapeutics has raised $32.5 million funding from Versant Ventures (Menlo Park, CA), Abingworth Management (London), 5AM Ventures (Menlo Park, CA) and Novo A/S (Copenhagen, Denmark). For more information, visit

About Roche as a Partner

Roche is a valued partner to around 80 companies worldwide. Over the past two years, Roche has led the pharmaceutical industry in the number of clinical compound deals signed. In 2006, Roche entered into nine partnerships to jointly develop products for optimal patient benefit and value. Partnerships continue to strengthen Roche's positions in oncology, virology, transplantation, and primary care. Roche's partnering culture encourages innovation through a unique pairing of collaboration and autonomy.

About Roche

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is one of the world's leading research-focused healthcare groups in the fields of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. As a supplier of innovative products and services for the early detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, the Group contributes on a broad range of fronts to improving people's health and quality of life. Roche is a world leader in diagnostics, the leading supplier of medicines for cancer and transplantation and a market leader in virology. In 2005 sales by the Pharmaceuticals Division totalled 27.3 billion Swiss francs, and the Diagnostics Division posted sales of 8.2 billion Swiss francs. Roche employs roughly 70,000 people in 150 countries and has R&D agreements and strategic alliances with numerous partners, including majority ownership interests in Genentech and Chugai. Additional information about the Roche Group is available on the Internet (

SOURCE: Roche & Synosis Therapeutics

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