Recursion, a clinical-stage biotechnology company, has announced a collaboration with Roche and Genentech, a member of the Roche Group.
By working with both Roche and Genentech’s R&D units, Recursion will tap technology-enabled drug discovery through its Operating System (OS) to more quickly identify novel targets and then advance medicines in neuroscience and in an oncology indication.
As per the terms of the deal, Recursion will get an upfront payment of $150m. It is also eligible for more performance-based research milestones.
Through this collaboration, Roche and Genentech together may initiate up to 40 programmes. If each of these programmes are successfully developed and commercialised, it could yield over $300m in development, commercialisation and net sales milestones for Recursion besides tiered royalties on net sales.
An integrated, multi-faceted system, Recursion OS will help in generating, analysing and deriving insight from huge biological and chemical datasets.
The OS brings together dry-lab and wet-lab biology at scale to industrialise as well as digitize drug discovery.
It will be deployed to phenomically tap chemical and genetic perturbations in neuroscience-related cell types and some cancer cell lines.
This phenomics data, generated in automated laboratories of Recursion, will be evaluated by Recursion’s convolutional neural networks. The data can then be turned into mathematical representations of biology, which will help in identifying biological relationships in order to commence and advance treatment programmes.
Furthermore, this dataset will be potentiated by wide single-cell perturbation screening data from Roche and Genentech.
The firms will collaborate on new machine learning algorithms to produce granular maps of human cellular biology.
Recursion co-founder & CEO Chris Gibson said: “We are excited to partner with Roche and Genentech to bring Recursion’s leading-edge, tech-enabled drug discovery platform, the Recursion OS, to bear against some of the most complex diseases impacting humanity. “Technology-enabled drug discovery is here, Recursion is leading the space, and we are pursuing some of the most intractable areas of biology with the very best partners by our side.”
Roche global head of pharma partnering James Sabry said: “This collaboration highlights the potential of technology to transform drug discovery and unlock previously unknown insights into complex disease in an unbiased way.
“We are excited about the opportunity this collaboration offers to help advance the development of medicines at scale.”
The three firms will leverage the insights through this collaboration’s maps of human cellular biology to quickly find and develop medicines against new targets in neuroscience and the oncology indication for up to ten years or even longer.
However, programmes currently underway at Recursion in oncology or neuroscience are not part of this collaboration.