CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Tensha Therapeutics, a privately-held company based in Cambridge, MA, announced today it will be acquired by Roche. Founded by James E. Bradner, MD, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and managed and funded by HealthCare Ventures, Tensha has developed a pioneering epigenetic technology that disrupts bromodomain and extra terminal domain (BET) proteins in order to develop potential treatments for cancer. The lead product, TEN-010, is a small molecule BET inhibitor that is currently in two Phase 1b clinical trials for the treatment of patients with cancer.
Under the terms of the agreement, Tensha’s shareholders will receive an upfront cash payment of $115 million, plus additional contingent payments of up to $420 million based on the achievement of certain predetermined clinical and regulatory milestones. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and anticipated to close in the first quarter of 2016.
“BET proteins are a highly promising class of therapeutic targets in cancer,” said James Bradner, MD, Founder of Tensha, Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School, and Investigator at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “BET inhibitors function as targeted therapy in rare cancers with BET gene rearrangements (NUT midline carcinoma), and in common cancers as a means of inhibiting the function of the master growth control genes, such as MYC.”
“We selected TEN-010 as a highly selective, potent BET inhibitor, and we moved rapidly and strategically to advance its development,” said Steven Landau, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Tensha and Director of Clinical and Scientific Analysis for HealthCare Ventures. “Our initial clinical data demonstrating the potential of TEN-010 in patients with NUT midline carcinoma was presented at the AACR/NCI/EORTC conference in November.”
“We are very excited about this acquisition, as it moves TEN-010 into the pipeline of a world leader in the development of novel cancer therapeutics. With leadership in solid and hematological tumors and deep understanding of BET biology, Roche is the ideal company to explore the broad clinical potential of TEN-010,” said Douglas E. Onsi, Chief Executive Officer of Tensha and Managing Director of HealthCare Ventures. “We appreciate the work of the Bradner lab, the Tensha and HealthCare Ventures employees, and the clinical teams at our trial sites for their important roles in bringing TEN-010 to studies in patients.”
About BET Proteins
Bromodomain and extra terminal domain (BET) proteins are central mediators of gene control and cellular memory. In cancer, BET proteins activate growth and survival genes. Further, they contribute to cancer cell memory by binding to the genome as molecular bookmarks. Tensha’s Founder, James Bradner, MD, Associate Professor at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, was the first to recognize the broad potential of BET inhibitors as anti-cancer agents. The Bradner lab first reported BET inhibitors in 2010 in Nature magazine, and established the potential of BET inhibitors in solid tumors and blood cancers. With chemist Jun Qi, Bradner thereafter invented TEN-010, a best-in-class BET inhibitor, for clinical development. BET inhibitors function as targeted therapy in rare cancers with BET gene rearrangements (NUT midline carcinoma), and in common cancers as a means of inhibiting the function of the master growth control genes, such as MYC. BET inhibition represents a new paradigm of targeting cellular memory, or epigenetics, in cancer, inflammation, and fibrosis.
About Tensha Therapeutics
Tensha was founded based on discoveries from the laboratory of Dr. James E. Bradner at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Tensha has been managed and funded by HealthCare Ventures as part of its Focused Company strategy, which has included Shape Pharmaceuticals (sold to TetraLogic in April 2014), Adheron Therapeutics (sold to Roche in October 2015), and Leap Therapeutics. For more information on Tensha, visit www.tenshatherapeutics.com.