Cancer Research UK’s license and collaboration partner Tusk Therapeutics is acquired by Roche

2018-10-16 00:00:00

Tusk Therapeutics Ltd, one of Cancer Research UK’s industry partners, has announced that it has been acquired by Roche.

In February 2017, Cancer Research UK’s wholly owned subsidiary, Cancer Research Technology, University College London (UCL) and Tusk Therapeutics Ltd announced a licensing and collaboration deal to develop and commercialise antibody-based therapeutics against CD25.

Tusk Therapeutics’ anti-CD25 antibody programme was built on novel biology discovered by the company in collaboration with Dr. Sergio Quezada, Cancer Research UK Senior Research Fellow, and his team at UCL.

Tusk Therapeutics presented pre-clinical proof-of-concept data generated in collaboration with Cancer Research UK and UCL, relating to its anti-CD25 antibody programme at the 2018 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

Tusk press release – September 28th 2018

Tusk Therapeutics Ltd (“Tusk”) was today acquired by Roche. Tusk has developed an antibody with a novel mode of action aimed at depleting regulatory T-cells (Tregs). Tregs suppress immune responses, including those against cancer cells.

Preclinical data has shown that depleting Tregs from the tumor microenvironment can enhance and/or restore anti-tumor immunity. Tusk’s antibody has been designed to deplete these harmful Tregs, while not interfering with other immune cells acting against the tumor. Tusk’s program is expected to start clinical trials in cancer patients towards the end of 2019.

Tusk was founded in 2014 by Droia Oncology Ventures, Tusk’s majority shareholder. Under the terms of the agreement, Tusk’s shareholders will receive an upfront cash payment of Euro 70 million, plus additional contingent payments of up to Euro 585 million based on achievements of certain predetermined milestones.

Luc Dochez, Chief Executive Officer of Tusk Therapeutics, said: “We are delighted that Roche will further develop this novel antibody and drive the development ahead. The remaining portfolio of our immune-oncology targets will be further developed by Black Belt Therapeutics, a newly formed company spun out of Tusk Therapeutics.”

Notes to editors