Biotech giant Takeda is entering a mega-sized partnership with Wave Life Sciences, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company, to work on a series of programs for neurological disorders. The pact includes a hefty upfront check and $2 billion in potential milestone money for Wave.
The partnership comes in two pieces. First, Wave $WVE will give Takeda the option to co-develop and co-commercialize programs in Huntington’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), frontotemporal dementia, and spinocerebellar ataxia type 3. Takeda will also have the right to license several preclinical programs targeting CNS disorders, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Takeda will pay Wave $110 million upfront and purchase $60 million of Wave’s shares at $54.70 per share (a premium on the current price of $52.70 as of time of publication). Takeda will also fund at least $60 million of Wave’s research over a 4-year period to advance multiple preclinical targets picked by and licensed to Takeda, which has now struck impressive back-to-back R&D pacts to expand its pipeline of neurosciences drugs.
“This partnership provides additional resources to advance our clinical programs through multiple data readouts while continuing to expand our pipeline in neurology and other therapeutic areas,” said Wave’s president and CEO Paul Bolno in a statement. “We look forward to working with Takeda and leveraging our expertise in oligonucleotides and clinical capabilities to grow our company and continue to make scientific and medical advances on behalf of patients.”
At any time during the four-year term, the companies may partner on up to six early-stage programs.
Making the rather hopeful assumption that Takeda advances six programs that achieve regulatory approval and commercial milestones, Wave says it’s eligible to receive more than $2 billion in cash milestone payments, $1 billion of which would be precommercial milestones.
A little more than a month ago Takeda — which has been restructuring its R&D organization and strategy over the past two years — partnered with rising neurodegeneration star Denali $DNLI in a $1 billion-plus pact, underscoring a commitment to the field in a deal that was quickly followed by a pivotal Alzheimer’s failure for Actos.
“Takeda is deeply committed to pursuing innovative approaches in neuroscience research and development,” said Emiliangelo Ratti, head of the neuroscience therapeutic area unit at Takeda, in a statement. “Our collaboration with Wave will further enable our focus to accelerate the development of transformational therapies for patients for whom there are currently no treatments available.”
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