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Convelo Therapeutics Inc., a Cleveland-based biotechnology company, has entered into an exclusive worldwide collaboration with Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. Through the deal, Genentech retains an exclusive option to acquire all outstanding stock of Convelo for an additional undisclosed payment and downstream milestones.

The collaboration is expected to build on the remyelinating targets and proprietary screening platform developed by Convelo’s scientific founders Drs Paul Tesar and Drew Adams. Convelo and Genentech will collaborate to discover novel remyelination therapies for MS and other myelin disorders. Convelo will receive an undisclosed upfront payment and research support from Genentech.

“There have been important treatment advancements for people living with multiple sclerosis, but many still experience disability progression,” said Roche Global Head of Pharma Partnering James Sabry, M.D., Ph.D. “Novel medicines that regenerate the myelin around nerve cells could help address this significant need. We look forward to collaborating with Convelo to hopefully deliver new options to people with multiple sclerosis and other neurological disorders.”

MS is a severely debilitating and progressive neurological disorder affecting nearly 1 million Americans and millions more worldwide. MS is caused by the immune system aberrantly destroying myelin in the central nervous system, which results in patient disability. Currently approved therapeutics are focused on preventing additional myelin damage by modulating the immune system, but there are no approved therapies that tackle the unmet clinical need to promote myelin regeneration.