San Diego-based biotechnology firm Afraxis Inc. has entered into a global licensing agreement with San Francisco-based Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, to develop compounds for an undisclosed genetic target.

Full financial terms have not been disclosed, but Afraxis is eligible to receive upfront research, development and commercialization milestone payments totaling up to $187.5 million.

“Afraxis has secured this relationship with Genentech only five years after founding the company as part of Avalon’s life sciences portfolio,” said Jay Lichter, president and CEO of Afraxis and managing partner of Avalon Ventures, in a statement. “Avalon’s approach to investing in companies at the earliest stages and staying actively involved in company management is proving to be a successful strategy for life science investing.”

The company primarily develops drugs to treat diseases of the central nervous system, including schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and autism spectrum disorders.

— SDBJ Staff Report