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Roche unit to end licensing agreement with NewLink Genetics for cancer drug

Roche Holding Ltd. unit Genentech said it would terminate its licensing agreement to develop and commercialize NewLink Genetics Corp.'s investigational drug GDC-0919.

GDC-0919 belongs to a class of immunotherapies called IDO inhibitors, which block a pathway that slows down the body's natural immune response to cancer.

Genentech made an up-front payment of $150 million to NewLink under the October 2014 agreement and its termination would return the rights of GDC-0919 back to NewLink.

NewLink Genetics stocks were down 31.59% to $7.26 per share as of 12:20 p.m. ET on June 8.