Genentech Terminates IDO Inhibitor Partnership with NewLink

Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, has terminated its four-year-old collaboration with NewLink Genetics to discover next-generation combination IDO-TDO (indoleamine-pyrrole 2,3-dioxygenase–tryptophan-2,3-dioxygenase) therapy compounds, nearly a year after the Roche subsidiary returned to NewLink rights to the cancer candidate GDC-0919 (navoximod).

The collaboration had been expected to generate more than $1.15 billion for NewLink when launched in October 2014 , with Genentech paying NewLink $150 million upfront.

At the time, the companies reasoned that IDO pathway inhibitors represented a breakthrough approach to cancer therapy, as did treatments that combined IDO with TDO-specific inhibitors.

The companies cited earlier studies showing that the IDO pathway was active both within tumor cells as a direct defense against T-cell attack and within antigen-presenting cells in tumor-draining lymph nodes.

However, that thinking changed following a series of clinical trial setbacks experienced by Genentech/NewLink and other developers of IDO inhibitor treatments. ...