As if the M&A-rumor pumpers needed more ammo to promote the idea that Roche might buy Aeterna Zentaris
This does not -- I repeat does not -- mean Roche is going to buy Aeterna Zentaris.
All that we can read into this deal is that Roche has a good diagnostic testing development group. Not that there are that many options for companion diagnostics. Beyond Roche, the other big player is Abbott Labs
The deal terms weren't disclosed, but assuming Roche is footing the bill for at least some of the development of the diagnostic, we can infer that Roche has at least some confidence in the potential for AEZS-108. The drug recently passed phase 2 trials in patients with endometrial and ovarian cancer.
The diagnostic will determine whether the tumor cells express luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone, or LHRH. AEZS -108 is kind of like Seattle Genetics'
While I don't think the partnership is a sign that Roche will buy Aeterna Zentaris, there's no doubt that the development of AEZS-108 and, more importantly, its lead drug candidate, perifosine, make the biotech a more attractive takeout candidate. We should get data from a phase 3 trial testing perifosine in patients with advanced colorectal cancer this quarter. Of course, if Roche wanted access to perifosine it might also have to buy Keryx Biopharmaceuticals
I wouldn't count on that one, either. And certainly not before the perifosine data is released.
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