Roche to buy Austrian biotechnology company Dutalys in $489 mn deal

Swiss drugmaker Roche yesterday announced that it has agreed to buy Austrian privately held biotechnology company Dutalys GmbH, in a $489 million deal.

Under the terms of the transaction, Roche will make an upfront cash payment of $133.75 million and additional contingent payments of up to $355 million based on achieving predetermined milestones.

Vienna-based Dutalys specialises in the discovery and development of fully human, bi-specific antibodies based on its proprietary DutaMab technology. The bi-specific antibodies developed are designed to provide novel, best-in-class molecules for several therapeutic areas.

Dutalys was founded in April 2010 and is backed by Austria Wirtschaftsservice / ERP-Funds, by research grants from FFG - the Austrian Research Promotion Agency, and the Technology Agency of the City of Vienna, and by funding from INiTS.

''The platform developed by Dutalys is a breakthrough technology, and we are excited about integrating it within Roche,'' said John Reed, head of Pharma Research and Early Development.  ''It strengthens our R&D capabilities in delivering bi-specific antibodies, which have the potential to create transformational new medicines.''

''We are delighted to have found a partner who has the capability to fully leverage our technology for maximum patient benefit.'' said Roland Beckmann, co-founder and CSO of Dutalys. ''DutaMabs are suitable for the treatment of numerous disease mechanisms and therapeutic targets, and we are very much looking forward to developing diverse novel therapeutics within the Roche R&D team.''

Roche is the world's largest biotech company, and specialises in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and neuroscience.

Roche is also the leader in in-vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management. Twenty-four medicines developed by Roche are included in the World Health Organisation Model Lists of Essential Medicines, among them life-saving antibiotics, antimalarials and chemotherapy.