Shape Therapeutics will use its RNA editing platform RNAfix and AAVid platform for the development of gene therapies for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and rare diseases


Roche Diagnostics administration and R&D buildings in Rotkreuz. (Credit: F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd.)

Swiss firm Roche has teamed up with biotechnology firm Shape Therapeutics to develop next-generation gene therapies for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and rare diseases.

Under the terms of the strategic collaboration and license agreement, Shape is eligible to receive more than $3bn, in initial, development, regulatory and sales milestone payments.

The biotech company is also entitled to receive tiered royalties on future sales of products developed under the collaboration.

Shape would leverage its RNA editing platform RNAfix, along with AAVid platform for adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) for the development of gene therapy for certain targets.

Also, it will conduct preclinical research to identify and deliver development candidates discovered by its AI-powered platforms RNAfix and AAVid, during the partnership period.

The Swiss drugmaker will be responsible for the development and global commercialisation of any potential products developed in the collaboration.

Roche Pharma partnering head James Sabry said: “We are excited by the disruptive potential of Shape’s RNA-editing approach based on nature’s own mechanism for specific base editing.

“This new collaboration is also perfectly aligned with our broader efforts across the Roche Group to unlock the full potential of gene therapy.

“We look forward to working with Shape to create novel treatment options for neuroscience and rare disease indications.”

Shape is a biotechnology company engaged in developing advanced RNA technologies to advance gene therapies.

Its gene therapy platform includes RNAskip, RNAfix and RNAswap payload technologies, next-generation tissue-specific AAVid delivery technology and SquareBio.

SquareBio is a solution designed to support scalable gene therapy manufacturing based on the industrialisation of human stable cell lines.

The company claimed that the Shape AI engine is at the core of its technologies, where data drives decisions to enable future gene therapies.

Shape co-founder and chief executive officer co-founder Francois Vigneault said: “Our mission at ShapeTX is to unlock the next breakthrough in RNA technologies in the gene therapy space across a wide range of therapeutic areas.

“The relationship with Roche quickly centred on a common desire to tackle some of the world’s most challenging diseases by accelerating the development of breakthrough technologies towards the clinic.”