The Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche announced on Monday that it has initiated the process of a US$7 billion acquisition of Telavant Holdings Incorporated. Telavant is 75 percent owned by Roivant Sciences Ltd. with the remaining 25 percent held by Pfizer Incorporated.

The agreement will include the development, manufacturing and commercialisation rights in the US and Japan for Televant’s RVT-3101, a new therapy in development for those suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

Upon the sale going through, Roche will have full rights to further develop and manufacture RVT-3101 and commercialise it in the US and in Japan pending clinical and regulatory success, the company said.

IBD is a group of chronic gastrointestinal disorders with almost 8 million people diagnosed worldwide and 80 percent of all those diagnosed not receiving long term relief, according to Roche.

“We strongly believe this novel TL1A directed antibody has the transformational potential to make a significant difference for patients living with inflammatory bowel disease and potentially other diseases,” said Thomas Schinecker, CEO Roche Group.

The therapy has shown favourable results during tests in providing long-term relief to patients with chronic gastrointestinal disorders, the company said.

There are two main types of IBD; ulcerative colitis, which mainly affects the colon and rectum, and Crohn’s disease, which affects the entire gastrointestinal tract. Patients can experience unpredictable symptoms that include abdominal pain and cramping, frequent and urgent bowel movements, diarrhoea, leakage, rectal bleeding, weight loss, energy loss and fatigue with ulcerative colitis most commonly diagnosed in young people aged 15 to 30 years, affecting them over the course of their entire future lives, Roche said in their announcement.

Roche was founded in 1896 in Basel, Switzerland, and was one of the first industrial manufacturers of branded medicines. It counts among the world’s largest biotechnology companies and has been named one of the most sustainable companies in the pharmaceuticals industry by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for thirteen consecutive years. Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan.