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Roche Buys Full Rights to Danoprevir from InterMune

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Roche has announced that it has bought full worldwide development and commercialization rights to danoprevir (RG7227/ITMN-191) from InterMune, Inc. for USD 175 million.

Danoprevir is a second generation protease inhibitor for hepatitis C that has shown promising efficacy in pre-clinical and early clinical development. Following co-development between Roche and InterMune since 2006, Roche now assumes sole ownership of danoprevir. This results in increased flexibility to develop and market its portfolio of drugs against hepatitis C, which also includes Pegasys (40 kDa pegylated interferon alfa 2a, the current standard of care) and RG7128, a nucleosidic polymerase inhibitor which has shown a promising resistance profile.

Dan Zabrowski, Global Head of Roche Partnering, commented: “With more than 180 million people around the world suffering from hepatitis C, the need for better treatments has never been greater. Danoprevir has demonstrated strong early clinical efficacy even in difficult-to-treat patient populations. Having full ownership of danoprevir increases our ability to rapidly develop combinations of our own hepatitis C compounds with molecules from other companies to maximize patient benefit.”

The hepatitis C market is poised for major expansion, and Roche is uniquely positioned to capitalize with an innovative and highly differentiated portfolio containing danoprevir, Pegasys®, and RG7128. Because Pegasys®, the preferred choice among interferons, is used in most hepatitis treatment development programs today, it is expected to become the backbone of future combination therapies. RG7128, partnered with Pharmasset and currently in phase 2, is potentially the first nucleoside polymerase inhibitor for treating hepatitis C.