Tusk Therapeutics Ltd (“Tusk”) was today acquired by Roche. Tusk has developed an antibody with a novel mode of action aimed at depleting regulatory T-cells (Tregs). Tregs suppress immune responses, including those against cancer cells. Preclinical data has shown that depleting Tregs from the tumor microenvironment can enhance and/or restore anti-tumor immunity. Tusk’s antibody has been designed to deplete these harmful Tregs, while not interfering with other immune cells acting against the tumor. Tusk’s program is expected to start clinical trials in cancer patients towards the end of 2019.
Tusk was founded in 2014 by Droia Oncology Ventures, Tusk’s majority shareholder. Under the terms of the agreement, Tusk’s shareholders will receive an upfront cash payment of Euro 70 million, plus additional contingent payments of up to Euro 585 million based on achievements of certain predetermined milestones.
Luc Dochez, Chief Executive Officer of Tusk Therapeutics, said: “We are delighted that Roche will further develop this novel antibody and drive the development ahead. The remaining portfolio of our immune-oncology targets will be further developed by Black Belt Therapeutics, a newly formed company spun out of Tusk Therapeutics.”