DURHAM – For the second time in less that two years Durham-based Ribometrix has landed a deal potentially work several hundred million dollars. This time, it’s even bigger – as much as $1 billion.

The emerging entrepreneurial company, which launched in 2014, early Wednesday announced the latest big deal for its RNA technology – it’s with Genetech, which is part of Roche Group.

Ribometrix gets an immediate cash infusion of $25 million for the development deal.

“Ribometrix will also be eligible to receive potential milestone payments exceeding $1 billion as well as tiered royalties on future global net sales of products that result from the collaboration,” the company said.

In October 2019 Ribometrix signed a development deal with Vertex Pharmaceuiticals worth as much as $700 million, including $20 million upfront.

Ribometrix was founded by Kevin Weeks, Ph.D., Kenan Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill., and Katie Warner, Ph.D., a UNC graduate who is now vice president of RNA biology at the company. Privately heled, the company’s venture capital backers include Triangle investors Pappas Capital and Hatteras Venture Partners.

“The ability to specifically target the 3D structure of RNA opens up an array of new possibilities in medicine, and Ribometrix is building the capabilities to deliver on that promise,” said Michael Solomon, chief executive officer of Ribometrix, in the announcement. “This collaboration with Genentech unites our RNA therapeutics leadership with their global reach and broad expertise to accelerate development of this important new class of medicines.”

Noted James Sabry, global head of Pharma Partnering, at Roche. “Ribometrix has built capabilities to drug specific RNAs, and we look forward to a productive collaboration to explore this emerging area of science.”

The companies say they “will collaborate on the discovery and preclinical development of programs. Genentech will be responsible for further development and commercialization.”

From a potential $700M deal to new funding, Durham’s Ribometrix is sizzling – and they are hiring