Takeda Pharmaceutical and a subsidiary of Germany-based Evotec SE forged a long-term research collaboration that will support the Japanese company’s growing number of research stage gene therapy discovery programs.
Evotec GT, an Austria-based subsidiary of Evotec SE, will support multiple Takeda programs that target conditions aligned with the Japanese pharma company’s four core therapeutic areas in oncology, rare diseases, neuroscience and gastroenterology. Evotec GT will use its growing gene therapy capabilities and drug discovery platform to support the research. No financial details were announced as part of the collaboration and neither Takeda nor Evotec gave any hints about the scope of the project, nor did they hint at any particular targets the companies would go after.
The collaboration is an expansion of a partnership the two companies struck last year to develop at least five drug discovery programs across a broad range of indications.in that deal, worth more than $850 million, Evotec will use its platform to validate development theories and advance small molecule programs along Takeda’s core therapeutic areas.
Craig Johnstone, chief operating officer of Evotec, said the latest collaboration expands the scope of the company’s relationship with Takeda into gene therapy. He said the alliance with Takeda is a demonstration of the “value of our multimodality platform with innovative technologies and best-in-class execution for addressing the most urgent requirements of our partners.” Evotec’s operations cover all activities from target-to-clinic to meet the industry’s need for innovation and efficiency in drug discovery and development. Johnstone added that relationships like the one with Takeda will “transform the industry’s approach” to discovering and developing new therapies for devastating diseases.
“We are excited to be broadening and expanding our discovery efforts with the Evotec team. Gene therapy is a growing therapeutic approach in our portfolio and this alliance with Evotec will help us further accelerate our delivery of transformative therapies for patients, particularly those with rare diseases,” Steven Hitchcock, global head of research at Takeda, said in a statement.
For Evotec, the expanded deal with Takeda comes a few days after the company struck a licensing and development agreement with Canada’s panCELLa Inc. Under the terms of that agreement, Evotec licensed panCELLa’s proprietary iPS cell lines “iACT Stealth Cells,” which are genetically modified to prevent immune rejection of derived cell therapy products. Evotec will also have access to a new-generation cloaking technology known as hypoimmunogenic cells. Evotec intends to use the cell lined to develop iPSC-based, off-the-shelf cell therapies with long-lasting efficacy that can be safely administered to a broad population of patients without the use of medication to suppress a patients’ immune system.