Takeda builds arsenal for immuno-oncology research, creates cell therapy group
Takeda’s presence in cancer — fortified by its $5.2 billion Ariad buyout — is growing, as it announced a range of agreements in immuno-oncology and the creation of a cell therapy unit, days before the Japanese drugmaker consummates its $62 billion takeover of Dublin-based Shire.
Takeda, whose main listing is in Tokyo but recently began also trading on the NYSE under the symbol $TAK, is collaborating with the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Michel Sadelain, who serves as director of MSK’s Center for Cell Engineering and is also the scientific founder of Juno Therapeutics, to develop CAR-T therapies for multiple myeloma, acute myeloid leukemia and additional solid tumor indications.
The company has also set up a new group called the translational cell therapy engine that will solely focus on shepherding cell therapy concepts and discoveries into the clinic, under the stewardship of Stefan Wildt, who already serves as head of pharmaceutical sciences for Takeda.
Takeda has exclusively licensed NIB-102 and NIB-103 for various solid tumor cancers under its existing research collaboration with Noile-Immune Biotech. The two will jointly develop the CAR-T cell therapies, and an application to test NIB-102 in humans is expected to be submitted by the end of 2019.
Separately, Takeda is also exercising an option under its 2016 deal with Crescendo Biologics to gain access to its Humabody platform, which relies on a mouse model to find compact antibodies that have the potential to become useful drugs. On Thursday, the drugmaker said it had acquired an exclusive oncology-targeted Humabody license for the development of CAR-T therapeutics.