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Takeda takes another step into cell therapy research

  • Takeda is moving further into the growing field of cell therapy through new and expanded collaborations aimed at developing drugs for hard-to-treat blood cancers and solid tumors. The Japanese pharma has also formed an internal group focused on translational cell therapy research.
  • In a new deal, Takeda will work with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to develop CAR-T products for the treatment of multiple myeloma, acute myeloid leukemia and solid tumors.
  • Takeda has also exercised an option from its September 2017 deal with Noile-Immune Biotech, picking up an exclusive license for the CAR-T cell therapies NIB-102 and NIB-103. Takeda expects to secure approval to begin clinical trials for former by the end of 2019.

Takeda, on the cusp of closing its deal to acquire Shire, is also working to ramp up its efforts in emerging fields of cancer research like cell therapy and immuno-oncology more broadly.

Takeda’s new internal team will be led by Stefan Wildt and encompasses bioengineering, chemistry, manufacturing and controls, and clinical functions.

The MSKCC and Noile-Immune Biotech deals, meanwhile, are followed by Takeda’s recently exercised option for an exclusive oncology-targeted Humabody license from Crescendo Biologics. This grew out of the October 2016 deal between the two companies, and enables Takeda to evaluate Humabodies for development of new CAR-T therapeutics.

These aren’t Takeda’s first steps into the cell therapy field. A year ago it announced its intention to acquire Belgian company TiGenix for $625 million following a 2016 collaboration. Tigenix’ Cx601, now known as Alosfisel (darvadstrocel), is the first allogeneic stem cell therapy to be approved in Europe.