Takeda restructuring results in Cambridge biotech spinout
- Takeda Pharmaceutical, with Lightstone Ventures, has created Cerevance, a new U.K. spinout focusing on neurological and psychiatric disease.
- Takeda is supplying a 25-strong team from its Cambridge, U.K. site, and $36 million of funding, including $21.5 million Series A funding from the pharma company and Lightstone Ventures.
- The new company, which will have a presence in both Cambridge, U.K. and Cambridge, Mass, will use new technology developed at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute laboratory of Nathaniel Heintz, at the Rockefeller University.
Almost three quarters of the ten leading causes of disability are nervous system disorders, and it is these that the new biotech, Cerevance, hopes to be able to tackle. As well as providing funding and personnel for the startup, Takeda will provide fully-equipped laboratory space and a portfolio of preclinical and clinical stage projects.
"Seven of the ten leading causes of disability in the world are central nervous system disorders," said Brad Margus, Cerevance Chief Executive Officer. "With a well-capitalized, proven team and promising drug programs already underway, we hope to rapidly advance a pipeline of therapeutics into the clinic in parallel with scaling up a truly novel approach to brain diseases based on our new technology."
The creation of Cerevance follows Takeda's announcement in mid-2016 of a $725 million restructuring. This involved a focus on research sites in the U.S. and Japan, and so meant the shuttering of the company's Cambridge, U.K. plant. The creation of Cerevance means that research will continue at the Cambridge site, saving it from closure.
"We are thrilled to assemble some of our best scientists, programs and discovery resources in a highly-focused endeavor as part of our increased emphasis on leveraging external innovation," said Andrew Plump, chief medical and scientific officer at Takeda. "When we announced the closure of our research site in Cambridge, UK, our goal was to find an innovative externalization home for our most promising CNS programs and scientists in an entrepreneurial setting. Cerevance is a great example of our new R&D strategy."
Takeda, Heintz and Margus have worked together before. Takeda invested in and later acquired U.S. drug discovery company Envoy Therapeutics, which was founded by Heintz and Margus.
Takeda is focusing the company on oncology, gastrointestinal disease and central nervous system disorders. In October 2016, Takeda hooked up with U.K. Crescendo Biologics to access the biotech's drug conjugate platform in a $36 million deal. It signed a collaboration deal with tech company Koneksa Health last month, gaining access to biosensor and wearable technology for remote collection of patient data.
- Takeda Pharmaceutical Statement
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