School of Life Sciences


Roche acquires Sussex-based Enterprise Therapeutics’ treatment programme for cystic fibrosis in £75million deal

  • The treatment programme includes Enterprise’s novel TMEM16A potentiator portfolio featuring a first-in-class compound which is currently in Phase 1 trials

  • TMEM16A potentiation is a novel therapeutic approach applicable to all cystic fibrosis patients and may provide benefit in other respiratory diseases

The multinational healthcare company Roche has acquired a programme for the treatment of cystic fibrosis and other respiratory diseases, developed by biopharmaceutical company Enterprise Therapeutics Ltd (Enterprise).

Co-founded by the University of Sussex’s Professor Martin Gosling, who is also the company’s Chief Scientific Officer, Enterprise is dedicated to the discovery and development of novel therapies to improve the lives of patients suffering with respiratory disease.

Based at the University of Sussex-owned Sussex Innovation Centre, Enterprise benefits from a close working relationship with the School of Life Sciences and its labs in the Sussex Drug Discovery Centre, where Henry Danahay, the Head of Biology at Enterprise, also has an honorary position.

This week, Enterprise Therapeutics announced that their novel TMEM16A potentiator portfolio has been fully acquired by Roche and will be developed by Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. A potentiator is a compound that intensifies the effect of a given drug treatment. With an upfront payment of £75 million, Enterprise’s shareholders are also eligible to receive additional contingent payments, to be made based on the achievement of certain predetermined milestones.

The portfolio focuses on treatments for cystic fibrosis, with the potential to benefit those with other severe respiratory diseases characterised by excessive mucus congestion. It includes a compound, ETD002, which recently entered Phase 1 clinical trials.

Dr John Ford, CEO at Enterprise Therapeutics, said: “Roche and Genentech have a proven track record of bringing new medicines to people with respiratory diseases, and have recognised the opportunity that our TMEM16A potentiator portfolio presents. I am very proud of the team at Enterprise for identifying and developing this innovative approach to treat patients, with ETD002 the first of our compounds to reach clinical stage. TMEM16A potentiation has the potential to significantly increase the quality of life for people living with cystic fibrosis, for many of whom existing therapies are not effective.”

Cystic fibrosis is estimated to affect 75,000 people globally. Due to mucus congestion in the lungs, patients suffer difficulty breathing and increased risk of infection.

The ETD002 compound targets the underlying mechanisms of mucus congestion, and is expected to restore lung function, reduce the frequency of lung infections and improve patient quality of life.

Dr James Sabry, MD, PhD, Global Head of Pharma Partnering, Roche, commented: “We are excited to add Enterprise’s TMEM16A potentiator programme to our existing respiratory portfolio. We have deep capabilities in this area and look forward to a robust programme focused on helping cystic fibrosis patients and patients suffering from other muco-obstructive disorders as quickly as possible.”

Read more about the work of Enterprise Therapeutics in an interview with Chief Scientific Officer, Sussex’s Professor of Molecular Pharmacology Martin Gosling.

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By: Stephanie Allen
Last updated: Friday, 9 October 2020

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