Roche expands antibody presence with THP purchase

By Dr Matt Wilkinson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Roche, Monoclonal antibodies

Roche has continued its spring spending spree with the $56.5m
(€42.2m) purchase of antibody research specialist Therapeutic Human
Polyclonals (THP).

The move to acquire 100 per cent of THP comes just days after Roche's Diagnostic division agreed to purchase the high-throughput DNA sequencing technology innovator, 454 Life Sciences​ for $154.9m. Roche plans to fully integrate the company into Roche's Pharma Centre of Excellence for Protein Research in Penzberg, Germany, which is less than two hours from THP's current headquarters in Munich. This latest deal will grant Roche access to THP's transgenic, rabbit-based mammalian platform for the creation of both monoclonal and polyclonal human antibodies. The monoclonal antibody market was worth $14bn in 2005 and is predicted to reach $29.7bn by 2011, according to a Datamonitor report entitled "The Future of Monoclonal Antibodies Therapeutics: Innovation in Antibody Engineering, Key Growth Strategies And Forecasts To 2011" The report also states that nearly half of the antibody market was held by Roche and its majority-held subsidiary Genentech in 2005. This was mainly due to the success of their collaborative oncology drugs, Rituxan (rituximab) Herceptin (Trastuzumab) and Avastin (bevacizumab). "We are delighted about this acquisition as it builds on our strength in therapeutic antibodies,"​ said Jonathan Knowles, Head of Global Research at Roche. A spokesperson for Roche also said that the platform would allow the company to produce next-generation antibodies which would be cross-reactive across species. This should lead to increased relevance of preclinical trials in animal models and help prevent unexpected disasters such as those that occurred during the TeGenero trials in London last year.

Related topics: Preclinical Research, Roche

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