After a series of disappointing trial results, Genentech (a member of the Roche Group) have ended their relationship with NewLink Genetics. This comes after 4 years of collaboration that was expected to bring in over $1.15 billion, with Genentech paying NewLink $150 million upfront.

At the time of the initial partnership IDO pathway inhibitors represented a breakthrough approach to cancer therapy, with earlier studies showing the IDO pathway was active in both tumour cells as a direct defence against T-cell attack, and within antigen-presenting cells in tumour-draining lymph nodes.

Unfortunately, IDO inhibitor treatments failed at the clinical trial stage. It should be noted that these failures aren’t isolated to Genentech and NewLink, as other developers have had similar difficulties (specifically, Incyte and Merck, and Bristol-Myers Squibb).

The news of the split appeared in a regulatory filing in which NewLink disclosed that their collaboration would come to an end within 180 days.