Roche's sidelined programs could be used to launch new biotechs

Roche's pipeline review could set the stage for some new biotech companies to take shape. Bloomberg reports that the Swiss pharma giant intends to slim down its pipeline in the coming weeks and venture groups are keenly interested in seeing if some of the most promising programs and scientific talent could be packaged and launched as independent companies.

"Challenging periods in the pharma industry can create opportunity for more entrepreneurial managers and scientists to take risks," says Versant Ventures Brad Bolzon. "We've seen some success with collaborative spin-outs." And a partner at Aravis Venture, Jean-Philippe Tripet, says that Roche has been assessing VC groups' interest in financing startups.

These new corporate spinouts are gaining considerable momentum on the global pharma industry. Earlier this year GlaxoSmithKline launched Convergence Pharmaceuticals with some impressive venture backing and pain programs that no longer qualified as a core asset. And more startups like these are expected to take shape in coming months.

It also wouldn't be a first for Roche, which has successfully spun out assets in collaborative efforts to create Basilea and Actelion. While Bloomberg concentrates on the potential to expand the Swiss biotech scene with new players, there's no reason why Roche wouldn't be interested in playing on a global field. The analysts point to Roche's cancer and metabolism programs as two areas that would be ripe for a new company launch.

- here's the article from Bloomberg