Roche and Ascletis enter Hepatitis C collaboration

Aim to advance treatment options for Chinese patients

Roche and emerging biotech company Ascletis have entered into a collaboration to develop and commercialise Roche’s investigational protease inhibitor drug danoprevir in China for the treatment of Hepatitis-C Virus (HCV). It is estimated that more than 10 million patients in China are chronically infected with HCV. The majority of these are genotype 1b, which has proven highly responsive to the drug.

Under the terms of the agreement, Ascletis will fund and be responsible for the development, regulatory affairs and manufacturing of danoprevir in greater China, including Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau, and will receive payments from Roche upon reaching certain development and commercial milestones. Ascletis and Roche will collaborate for the clinical development and the commercialisation. The contract also involves royalties.

‘No marketed direct antiviral agents are currently available for hepatitis C in China. We are pleased to be collaborating with Roche to develop and eventually commercialise this much needed medicine for Chinese patients,’ said Dr Jinzi J. Wu, President and CEO at Ascletis. ‘Furthermore, we are very encouraged by the clinical data that have emerged to date and looking forward to bringing this novel DAA to patients in need.’