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Teva takes controlling stake in genomics specialist

World’s largest generics firm takes deeper steps into patented medicines development

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Teva has bought a 51% share in Immuneering as part of a drive to develop personalised medicines for central nervous system diseases.

The Israeli pharma group said Immuneering's genomic analysis expertise would help it identify hard-to-find drug targets in CNS diseases that would be used in its drug discovery and development programmes.

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Immuneering specialises in the analysis of genetic, genomic and proteomic data that according to Teva's R&D chief Michael Hayden can "cut through, link and interpret enormous and disparate data-sets."

"Simply put, by intensifying the relationship between Teva's team … and the MIT-trained Immuneering team, we will be closer to helping match the right patient to the right medicine at the right time," he added.

Personalised medicines - perhaps better referred to as stratified therapies as they are generally targeted at groups of patients with specific genetic signatures - have started to emerge in diseases such as cancer

However, the complex mechanisms behind many CNS diseases have been an obstacle to applying this approach in this therapeutic category. A 2013 report on personalised medicine by McKinsey & Co acknowledged the "tremendous potential" for this type of approach in CNS diseases whilst noting it is still in its infancy.

"The real breakthrough in the field will likely occur when the basis for disease heterogeneity is well understood in diseases such as CNS and cardiovascular" it said.

Immuneering has been working with Teva for several years on research into genetic biomarkers and therapy-specific gene expression signatures. 

They have also focused on the characterisation of non-biological complex drugs (NBCDs), which are made up of a group of different but structurally-related substances that cannot be fully analysed using traditional analytical tools.

Teva's top-selling drug Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) is an NBCD, and the company collaborated with Immuneering last year on work that suggested there were significant differences in gene expression in response to treatment with the product and a generic sold by Natco in India.

Financial terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

Article by
Phil Taylor

4th August 2015

From: Sales

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