Tiny startup hooks Takeda in celiac deal

Dive Brief:

  • University of Washington spinout PvP Biologics, created in late 2016 to develop a treatment for celiac disease, on Thursday inked a deal with Japanese pharma Takeda Pharmaceutical which gives it some added financial muscle.
  • PvP will be responsible for R&D of its lead candidate KumaMax through Phase 1 proof-of-principle studies, but will now receive $35 million in funding from Takeda. 
  • In return, Takeda gains an exclusive option to acquire PvP if the company is able to deliver on the agreed-upon development plan for KumaMax.

Dive Insight:

PvP's KumaMax is a recombinant enzyme developed to degrade the immune-reactive parts of gluten which trigger symptoms in people with celiac disease. 

The agreement with Takeda provides non-dilutive funding for PvP, according to a statement from Adam Simpson, CEO of PvP Biologics. The money from Takeda will allow PvP to speed up development of KumaMax.

Gastroenterology is one of Takeda's main areas of focus and the company has a joint research partnership with Cour Pharmaceutical Development for a celiac disease therapeutic. 

"This agreement with PvP Biologics reinforces Takeda’s commitment to developing therapeutics targeting celiac disease," said Asit Parikh, head of the gastroenterology for Takeda.

Other companies are also working on celiac disease. Selecta Biosciences, for example, is developing an immunotherapy vaccine using its synthetic vaccine particle technology. Sanofi had been partnered on the candidate but exited the collaboration in November 2016, leaving future development of the candidate in doubt. 

There are no current treatments for celiac other than maintaining a gluten-free diet, which can be challenging. The disease affects around 2.4 million people across the U.S., and about one in 100 people worldwide, according to the companies. 

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Filed Under: Mergers and Acquisitions / Deals