- Japanese drugmaker Takeda has teamed up with an investment firm and a drug distributor to collectively invest ¥10 billion ($88 million) in a new joint venture aimed at fast track drug discovery in the renal, metabolic and cardiovascular therapeutic spaces.
- Dubbed Scohia Pharma, the venture will be based out of Takeda's Shonan research center — one of three central hubs the pharma plans to centralize operations around as part of a restructuring announced last year.
- The Innovation Network Corporation of Japan will hold a 70.5% stake in Scohia, while Takeda will own 19.5% and distributor Medipal Holdings will hold the remaining 10%.
Under CEO Christophe Weber, Takeda aims to transform itself into an industry leader in oncology, gastroenterology and central nervous system disorders.
Last year, Takeda announced a $725 million restructuring plan aimed at consolidating the company's footprint around those three key areas, supported by more active M&A and partnering. Weber has already delivered on the M&A front, acquiring Ariad Pharmaceuticals and its leukemia drug Iclusig (ponatinib) to kick off 2017.
Takeda has also been busy experimenting with ventures and partnerships. Looking to close down its Cambridge, U.K. site, Takeda last December spun out Cerevance, transferring 25 employees and investing $21.5 million alongside Lightstone Ventures.
Then, in February, Takeda and contract researcher PRA Health Sciences expanded their existing partnership through a joint venture focused on serving as a partner to Takeda's clinical and pharmacovigilance work in Japan.
Scohia Pharma looks to be another example of Takeda's efforts to streamline its operations and focus on the areas it has tagged as central to future growth.
"The establishment of Scohia Pharma represents not only a business model that will allow a high level of expertise to be brought to bear over an extended period of time in the renal, metabolic and cardiovascular therapeutic areas, but is also an early step in the creation of a research park that will allow Takeda’s Shonan Research Center to gather a wide variety of healthcare knowledge in one location," said Andy Plump, chief scientific and medical officer at Takeda.
Once set up in Shonan, Scohia will license two Takeda assets currently in Phase 2 and Phase 1 development, respectively, as well as six other pre-clinical programs from the Japanese pharma.