The Swiss drugmaker will pay $675 million in cash and make a $100 million equity investment in Blueprint for rights to pralsetinib, which could gain U.S. approval against so-called RET-altered non-small cell lung cancer in November.
U.S. company Blueprint, which has been working with Roche since 2016, could also receive up to $927 million in milestone payments, plus royalties on sales outside the United States, Roche said in a statement.
Mutations to the RET gene can drive tumour growth, but given that such genetic changes occur in only a fraction of patients with lung or thyroid cancer, genetic testing is key to prescribing the most beneficial drugs.
Roche’s diagnostics division is key to a deal that will enable the company to expand on a portfolio of medicines such as Alecensa and Rozlytrek, which require testing to determine which patients will benefit.
“We will leverage our global reach and expertise in oncology, as well as our capabilities in diagnostics,” said James Sabry, Roche’s head of partnerships.
Beyond lung cancer, Blueprint has also submitted pralsetinib to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating advanced RET mutant and RET fusion-positive thyroid cancers.
Roche and Blueprint are not alone in combining sophisticated diagnostics with niche drugs.