Synta Pharmaceuticals Corp. and Roche announced the formation of a strategic alliance to discover, develop, and commercialize small-molecule drugs targeting a novel family of ion channels that are critical to immune cell function, known as calcium release-activated calcium modulator (CRACM) channels.
In preclinical models, the CRACM inhibitors discovered by Synta potently and selectively inhibit the secretion of pro-inflammatory factors such as TNF-alpha and IL-2, with minimal effects on other cells or signaling pathways. This program represents a new category of oral, targeted, disease-modifying agents for treating rheumatoid arthritis and a broad range of other inflammatory diseases.
Under the terms of the agreement, Roche will fund research to be conducted by Synta during an initial two-year research period. Roche will receive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize certain products identified prior to the end of this research period. Synta retains certain co-development and co-promotion rights. All preclinical, clinical, and commercial costs will be paid by Roche.
Synta will receive $25 million in upfront cash license fees and committed research support, of which $9 million will be provided in the form of research support over the initial research period. Synta will also be eligible to receive additional payments, for each of three licensed products, should specified development and commercialization milestones be successfully achieved.
Development milestones across multiple indications of up to $245 million could be earned for the first product, and up to half of this amount could be earned for each of the second and third products. Commercialization milestones of up to $170 million could be earned for each of three products. Synta will receive tiered royalties on sales of all approved, marketed products.