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Roche to acquire obesity drug maker Carmot

December 10, 2023
Life sciences

In a move to participate in the race for anti-obesity drugs, Swiss pharma giant Roche has agreed to acquire Carmot Therapeutics, a privately owned US company based in Berkeley, California.

Carmot’s R&D portfolio includes clinical stage subcutaneous and oral incretins with the potential to treat obesity in patients with and without diabetes, as well as a number of preclinical programs.

The existing clinical data for Carmot’s assets, especially the lead asset CT-388, suggests a best-in-class potential to achieve and maintain weight loss with differentiated efficacy. In addition, the assets offer an opportunity for combinations with its own compounds already in the pipeline, including those focused on other benefits, such as muscle mass maintenance, Roche said.

Incretins are gut hormones that are secreted after food intake and play a role in modulating blood glucose by stimulating insulin secretion and suppressing appetite. The incretin-based portfolio could also be expanded to other indications where incretins play a role including cardiovascular, retinal and neurodegenerative disease.

Thomas Schinecker, CEO of Roche, said: “Obesity is a heterogeneous disease, which contributes to many other diseases that together comprise a significant health burden worldwide. By combining Carmot’s portfolio with programs in our pharmaceuticals pipeline and our diagnostics expertise and portfolio of products across cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, we are aiming to improve the standard of care and positively impact patients’ lives.”

“We are encouraged by the clinical data for the lead asset CT-388, which demonstrated substantial weight loss in Phase 1b. These data suggest the potential for a differentiated profile to treat obesity and its associated diseases,” added Levi Garraway, Roche’s chief medical officer and head of global product development.

Under the terms of the agreement, Roche will pay Carmot’s equity holders a purchase price of $2.7 billion in cash at the closing of the deal. Additionally, Carmot’s equity holders are entitled to receive payments of up to $400 million depending on the achievement of certain milestones. Roche will obtain access to Carmot’s current R&D portfolio including all clinical and pre-clinical assets, with Carmot and its employees joining Roche as part of the group’s Pharmaceuticals division.

Roche will also gain exclusive access to Carmot’s innovative Chemotype Evolution discovery platform in metabolism to further strengthen Roche’s R&D efforts and portfolio across cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

The closing of the transaction is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2024.


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