Roche has entered an agreement to acquire Santaris Pharma, a privately held Denmark-based biopharma company for $250 million in cash up front and additional payments of as much as $200 million based on certain milestones. Santaris’ Locked Nucleic Acid (LNA) platform is focused on the discovery and development of RNA-targeting therapeutics, a new class of medicines with the potential to address hard to treat diseases.
The acquisition, subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close in August 2014. Roche plans to maintain Santaris’ operations in Denmark, where the existing site will be renamed Roche Innovation Center Copenhagen.
“Today there are many disease targets that are very challenging or even impossible to reach with small molecules or antibodies,” said John C. Reed, head of Roche Pharma Research and Early Development. “We believe the LNA platform provides the means to efficiently discover and develop an important new class of medicines that may address the significant needs of patients across multiple therapeutic areas.”
“Roche and Santaris Pharma have complementary capabilities that will help us realize breakthrough medicines,” stated J. Donald deBethizy, president and chief executive officer of Santaris Pharma. “The acquisition combines Santaris Pharma’s next-generation antisense technology and LNA expertise with Roche’s deep experience in disease biology, chemistry, drug safety, drug formulation, delivery, and development.”