Roche taps Halozyme’s drug delivery tech for up to $520M

Roche and Halozyme are at it again—12 years after their initial collaboration around the latter’s Enhanze drug delivery platform, Roche is licensing it again, this time for three new targets. Roche is handing over $25 million up front, but Halozyme stands to pick up between $160 million and $165 million in milestones for each target—up to $495 million in total. 

The Big Pharma will develop a new, undisclosed clinical-stage therapeutic target and has the option to select two more targets within four years, Halozyme said in a statement. Halozyme will receive a nomination fee if Roche goes through with the two additional targets, as well as royalties on product sales. 

"I am delighted to announce another further expansion of our long-term relationship with Roche, covering the selection of these three new targets," said Halozyme CEO Helen Torley, in a statement. This agreement is a strong illustration of our strategy to unlock and grow ENHANZE value through supporting partners in advancing more promising targets into the clinic through the expansion of existing agreements and the addition of new ones."

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The Enhanze technology uses the enzyme hyaluronidase to break down hyaluronan, a natural sugar chain that forms a gel in the subcutaneous layer. This allows for the subcutaneous injection of treatments that might otherwise require infusion.  

Under their last deal, Roche developed the cancer meds Herceptin and Rituxan. It has an undisclosed candidate in phase 1 and expanded the agreement last year to be able to evaluate one more target using Enhanze. 

Halozyme has inked similar deals with Johnson & Johnson, AbbVie and Eli Lilly, all of which paid between $15 million and $25 million up front to use the Enhanze platform. The potential payoffs from the deals range from $581 million to $1.17 billion. But September 2017 saw Bristol-Myers Squibb fork over $105 million up front—with close to $1.8 billion in milestones if all targets prove successful—to develop subcutaneous formulations of molecules against PD-1 and 10 other immuno-oncology targets.