Once a gem, now just a rock, Takeda punts PhIII IBD drug as rivals muscle ahead
Back in 2016, when then-Shire CEO Flemming Ørnskov picked up a promising clinical-stage IBD drug from Pfizer, the Boston-based biotech dubbed it SHP647 and moved it into the gem section of the pipeline, with rosy expectations of registration-worthy Phase III data ahead.
This was a drug that the EC wanted Takeda to commit to selling off before it gave their blessing to its acquisition of Shire, to settle some deep-seated concerns revolving around the potential market overlap with their blockbuster rival Entyvio. And Takeda, which took on a heavy debt load to buy Shire, clearly wanted the cash to pay down debt.
But no deal followed, and today Takeda is simply punting the derailed drug program into the weeds and moving on, after making sure that trial volunteers would continue to get access and researchers were given an open door to pursue new work.
Takeda says it conducted 2 sales processes over the past 14 months for the drug, an anti-mucosal addressin cell adhesion molecule 1 (MAdCAM-1) antibody. The first involved company execs, the second was guided by a trustee. Together, they covered talks with more than 60 potential buyers.
Nothing came of that, though. And Takeda had already stopped new patient enrollment in March after the pandemic hit. Now they will disband the late-stage program on ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s and make the data and bio samples available to qualified researchers who want to carry on the work.
At the end of the day, it may well have just been a matter of timing and competition. AbbVie has hit this busy market with Rinvoq, with Gilead trying hard to compete with filgotinib. If the drug wasn’t a wow, it’s no kind of gem. And so it goes.