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Swiss Drugmaker Roche to Buy Tensha Therapeutics.

M2 EQUITYBITES-January 12, 2016-Swiss Drugmaker Roche to Buy Tensha Therapeutics

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12 January 2016 - Swiss drugmaker Roche (SWX: RO) has agreed to acquire US-based Tensha Therapeutics, the companies said.

Under the terms of the agreement, Tensha's shareholders will receive an upfront cash payment of USD 115m, plus additional contingent payments of up to USD 420m based on the achievement of certain predetermined clinical and regulatory milestones.

Founded by James E. Bradner, MD, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and managed and funded by HealthCare Ventures, Tensha has developed an epigenetic technology that disrupts bromodomain and extra terminal domain proteins in order to develop potential treatments for cancer.

The lead product, TEN-010, is a small molecule BET inhibitor that is currently in two Phase 1b clinical trials for the treatment of patients with cancer.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and anticipated to close in 1Q16.

Bromodomain and extra terminal domain proteins are central mediators of gene control and cellular memory. In cancer, BET proteins activate growth and survival genes.

Further, they contribute to cancer cell memory by binding to the genome as molecular bookmarks. Tensha's Founder, James Bradner, MD, Associate Professor at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, was the first to recognise the broad potential of BET inhibitors as anti-cancer agents.

The Bradner lab first reported BET inhibitors in 2010 in Nature magazine, and established the potential of BET inhibitors in solid tumors and blood cancers. With chemist Jun Qi, Bradner thereafter invented TEN-010, a best-in-class BET inhibitor, for clinical development.

BET inhibitors function as targeted therapy in rare cancers with BET gene rearrangements (NUT midline carcinoma), and in common cancers as a means of inhibiting the function of the master growth control genes, such as MYC.

BET inhibition represents a new paradigm of targeting cellular memory, or epigenetics, in cancer, inflammation, and fibrosis.

Tensha was founded based on discoveries from the laboratory of Dr. James E. Bradner at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The company has been managed and funded by HealthCare Ventures as part of its Focused company strategy, which has included Shape Pharmaceuticals (sold to TetraLogic in April 2014), Adheron Therapeutics (sold to Roche in October 2015), and Leap Therapeutics.

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