Aileron scores $1.1B development pact with Roche

Aileron Therapeutics' stapled peptide platform has won over Roche, which is paying $25 million upfront and up to $1.1 billion more in milestones to explore the potential to deliver a new generation of drugs right to their target.

For Aileron, a 2009 Fierce 15 company, the billion-dollar deal represents a key endorsement from one of the industry's most innovative pharma companies. And it's the kind of high-profile pact that is likely to generate plenty more interest from Roche's competition, spurring a hard look at the new peptide and protein technologies emerging as one of the hottest fields in drug development.

"This is a significant commitment by a very smart pharmaceutical company betting they're finally going to unlock the power of peptides as a superclass of drugs," Aileron CEO Joseph A. Yanchik III told The New York Times.

For now, Aileron is still very much an early-stage developer, with plans to get into the clinic once it gets a green light from the FDA. Roche is taking on five undisclosed targets with Aileron's help. But with a platform technology like this, Aileron is advancing in a target-rich environment.

"Stapled peptides represent a potentially transformative new technology to create drugs for important disease targets that are intractable to currently available modalities," Jean-Jacques Garaud, global head of Roche pharma research and early development.

- read the Roche release
- here's the New York Times story
- see the report from Reuters