- Japanese drugmaker Takeda Pharmaceuticals on Monday inked a new oncology collaboration deal with the U.K.-based Crescendo Biologics, committing up to $36 million in near-term payments to gain access to Crescendo's drug conjugate platform.
- Under deal terms, Crescendo could take home up to $754 million in other clinical, regulatory and sales-based milestones, along with royalties on any products developed from its "Humabody" technology.
- Takeda's investment in early-stage work with Crescendo comes amidst a major restructuring which aims to focus the Japanese drugmaker's efforts to development of new medicines in oncology, gastrointestinal and central nervous system indications.
The deal with Takeda marks Crescendo's first major pharma collaboration.
Launched in 2009 with £4.5 million (about $6.5 million then) seed funding from Sofinnova Ventures, Crescendo has since secured the backing of Astellas Ventures Management, Imperial Innovations and EMBL Ventures. A two-part Series A financing in December 2013 and April 2014 raised £19.5 million ($31.3 million) for the Cambridge, U.K.-based biopharma.
Crescendo will be responsible for discovering and configuring Humabody drug conjugates and immuno-oncology modulators against targets selected by Takeda. Humabody drug conjugates pair Crescendo's newly developed class of protein therapeutics with toxic payloads, a one-two punch which Crescendo believes could prove superior to standard antibody drug conjugates.
"Working together with Crescendo will enable us to leverage its important technology to support Takeda’s goal of developing next generation, highly modular and targeted therapies to treat cancer," said Andrew Plump, chief medical and scientific officer at Takeda.
Under CEO Christophe Weber, Takeda has sought to transform itself into a more focused and globally present pharmaceutical company.
This past summer, Takeda announced a $725 million restructuring aimed at centralizing its research efforts to three sites in Shonan, Japan; San Diego, CA; and Boston, MA. If all goes to plan, the restructuring will save Takeda $175 million in annual costs, which will be invested into growing the company's early-stage pipeline.
But the more-narrowed focus will also frame its M&A options. According to the Financial Times, Takeda has earmarked $15 billion for U.S.-based acquisitions specifically in its three targeted therapeutic areas.