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article imageRoche to buy disease research company

By Tim Sandle     Aug 9, 2014 in Business
The Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche is set to pay $450 million for a Danish biotech company that develops drugs that silence microRNAs (something considered key to tackling certain diseases).
Roche is targeting the Danish biotech firm Santaris Pharma, according to The Wall Street Journal. Santaris Pharma A/S is a biopharmaceutical company founded in 2003 in Copenhagen. Santaris Pharma A/S has become a leading clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that develops RNA-targeted medicines. Santaris works on developing drugs for a wide range of diseases using microRNA and mRNA. Their research focuses on infectious disease and metabolic disorders.
A microRNA (abbreviated miRNA) is a small genetic molecule found in many animals, plants and viruses. The molecules, when they go wrong through mutation, have been associated with diseases. An example is chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Moreover, DNA damage is considered to be the primary underlying cause of cancer.
The reason why the company is being purchased by Roche is because:
Santaris Pharma A/S currently has two novel drug candidates for the treatment of solid tumors and lymphomas, EZN-2968 and EZN-3042,
Santaris is developing a microRNA targeting drug for Hepatitis C,
Santaris is seeking to discover and develop new RNA-based medicines to treat rare genetic disorders.
Commenting on the bid, Roche’s Research and Early Development, said in a statement: "Today there are many disease targets that are very challenging or even impossible to reach with small molecules or antibodies. We believe [Santaris Pharma]... provides the means to efficiently discover and develop an important new class of medicines that may address the significant needs of patients across multiple therapeutic areas."
The deal is expected to be finalized by the end of August. Roche have long been interested in genetic technologies. Earlier this year the company purchased Seragon Pharmaceuticals for $1.725 billion. To add to this, in 2009, Roche acquired Genentech for $46.8 billion.
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