Last week's deal between Seaside Therapeutics Inc. and Roche has a slew of moving parts, with a different driver for each party. The key for the biotech was granting Roche an option to its lead fragile X syndrome program, which could allow Seaside to leverage the pharma's commercial muscle. Meanwhile, the pharma gains freedom to operate in the mGluR5 antagonist space, both in terms of IP and running clinical trials.

Fragile X syndrome is the most common known genetic form of autism. It is characterized by impaired neural and cognitive development caused by transcriptional silencing of a gene encoding the fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) (see BioCentury, Nov. 2, 2009).