Irish biotech start-up co-founded by Luke O'Neill sold for €380m

An Irish company that develops treatments for inflammatory diseases has been sold in one of the largest deals in Irish biotech history.

Swiss healthcare company, Roche, has acquired Inflazome for an up front payment of €380 million.

The company was founded in 2016 following a research collaboration between the University of Queensland and Trinity College, and is based in Dublin.

The upfront payment marks a sevenfold return for venture capital investors who have pumped €55 million into the business. These include Ireland’s Fountain Healthcare Partners as well as Forbion, Longitude Capital and Novartis Venture Fund, according to The Irish Times.

Professor Luke O'Neill, who co-founded Inflazome, says it is a great day for the company.

"Roche can now take out drug and bring it to the clinic which is tremendously exciting. We're talking about Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Cardiovascular disease- all these inflammatory diseases seem to involve one thing that goes wrong in your body.

"We have a drug that can correct it so it's a great day for the company."

Inflazome currently has two drugs in clinical trials - Inzomelid, for neurodegenerative diseases in the brain, and Somalix, for inflammatory diseases in the rest of the body.

Both drugs have successfully concluded Phase I clinical trials and are preparing for Phase II trials at present and are designed to be taken orally, rather than by injection or intravenously, making them easier to distribute and administer.