Roche, Inception Sciences, and the venture capital firm Versant Ventures laid the groundwork for Pipeline by establishing a partnership in June 2014 that formed the Inception 5 program. Its goal was to develop therapies for remyelination — the process of repairing the myelin coating that protects nerve fibers. Myelin damage is a hallmark of MS.
The early promise of the remyelination therapy development program has led to Pipeline Therapeutics being formed to take over the Inception 5 effort.
Versant supported Inception 5 with financing. Roche provided research funding in exchange for an option to acquire a therapy program that could achieve investigational new drug status. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration awards the status so that companies can market an experimental therapy across state lines.
In the past 3 1/2 years, Inception scientists have translated findings made at the University of California, San Francisco medical center into a clinical trial program for MS.
“It is gratifying to see another successful outcome within Versant’s Discovery Engine network,” Brad Bolzon, the managing director and chair of Versant’s investment team, said in a press release.
“We continue to leverage collaborative business models with pharma partners, especially in emerging fields such as this. We thank Roche for their confidence in the potential of our partnership to produce an entirely new class of therapeutics for [MS] and other demyelinating diseases,” Bolzon said.
“Our Inception scientists once again demonstrated their ability to effectively translate foundational academic discoveries into high-quality drug candidates,” said Peppi Prasit, Inception’s CEO. “This achievement resulted from access to cutting-edge academic research, a proven team of drug hunters with domain expertise, and support from our venture capital and pharma partners.”
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