Takeda swoops in to buy stem cell partner TiGenix for $630M, putting it on the threshold of a likely approval

One short step behind a positive CHMP opinion in Europe for TiGenix’s $TIG lead stem cell therapy, Takeda’s marketing embrace has turned into a buyout deal.

Takeda has struck a deal to acquire the Belgian biotech for $630 million, putting it right on the 5-yard line with European regulators ready to hand over an approval for a new treatment to fight fistulas among patients with Crohn’s disease.

Christophe Weber

Takeda lined up a $400 million-plus marketing pact with TiGenix on Cx601 back in 2016, drawn by an off-the-shelf stem cell therapy that is now also in a Phase III US study designed to pave the way for an OK at the FDA. TiGenix recently narrowed its pipeline focus, highlighting further plans for the early-stage development of Cx611 for severe sepsis among patients who require mechanical ventilation and/or vasopressors.

After years of delays and disappointments, stem cell therapies are beginning to find their way to the marketplace. And that will likely inspire more such deals in the industry.

TiGenix has touted 52-week results for its top therapy, noting that 56.3% of the modified intent-to-treat population achieved combined remission for fistulas — close to the 51.5% mark seen after 24 weeks. In the placebo arm the average rates were 38.6% and 35.6%.

Andrew Plump

The buyout comes just days ahead of the big JPMorgan confab in San Francisco, as companies line up deals to help attract attention to their strategies. Takeda helped get last year’s gathering off to a noisy start with its decision to buy Ariad for $5.2 billion. Under CEO Christophe Weber, the Japanese based biopharma company has been restructuring and reprioritizing the pipeline, trying to shake off years of underperformance.

Chief Takeda scientist Andrew Plump is at the head of the welcoming committee. He said:

Limited treatment options (for the Crohn’s indication) exist today and I believe we can be most effective in serving this population by working in collaboration with partners whose unique skill sets allow us to more efficiently explore innovative approaches, including stem cell therapies. I have had the opportunity to work alongside the TiGenix team throughout our collaboration and know that we have shared goals and varied, but complementary expertise. I am thrilled at the prospect of welcoming them as part of our organization.

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