A hungry Takeda continues deal spree with $125M T cell pact, option to buy

Takeda is on a tear.

Two days after announcing a $5.2 billion deal to acquire Ariad, the global Japanese pharma company is back with the latest in a string of smaller pacts, investing $125 million in Maverick Therapeutics and picking up an option to buy the biotech and its T cell engagement platform.

The cash comes for an upfront payment, equity stake and R&D support, with Takeda stepping into a $23 million Series B to help fuel the next round of development. Takeda and Maverick, an MPM Capital company, have already worked out a buyout price for five years down the road, but they aren’t disclosing it.

Takeda also disclosed a research pact with Korea’s LegoChem Biosciences to study next-gen antibody drug conjugates.

Maverick was spun out of Harpoon Therapeutics last year, pursuing tech that promised to direct a T cell attack on cancer cells, avoiding healthy cells and the toxicity linked to a misdirected therapeutic.

“We believe that this collaboration validates Maverick’s approach to T-cell engagement in the tumor microenvironment which we believe will allow us to address previously intractable oncology targets,” said Jeanmarie Guenot, PhD, Maverick’s co-founder.

Takeda has been completely overhauling its R&D operations over the past year, concentrating much of its effort in the US and Japan. And this latest spurt of deals isn’t ending here. Takeda CEO Christophe Weber and other execs explained this week that they have the appetite for more M&A and licensing deals, and the resources to make it all happen.

“We see significant potential in Maverick to develop unique, small and customizable T-cell engagement therapeutics,” said Phil Rowlands, Interim Head, Oncology Therapeutic Area Unit, Takeda.

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