- It's another busy January for Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., as the Japanese pharma announced Friday it is dropping $625 million to acquire TiGenix NV and $150 million to enter a drug development deal with Denali Therapeutics Inc. focused on neurodegenerative diseases.
- The TiGenix buyout gives Takeda full ownership of Cx601, a drug for complex perianal fistulas in patients with less severe forms of luminal Crohn’s disease who haven't responded to at least one biologic treatment in the past. The two companies inked a licensing agreement for Cx601 in 2016, and are expecting an approval decision from the European Medicines Agency before July.
- The collaboration with Denali, meanwhile, seeks to advance and commercialize up to three product candidates with genetically validated targets for neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, according to a statement. Takeda is tapping into Denali's Antibody Transport Vehicle technology to help in that effort.
Japan is the world's fourth largest pharmaceutical market, behind the U.S., China and Europe. Takeda sits as one of the island nation's top drugmakers, yet it has also been itching to build a more global presence — especially since Christophe Weber, the pharma's first non-Japanese CEO, took over in 2015.
Takeda is rounding out a two-year restructuring project that the company estimates will cost around $725 million when all is said and done. The changes have included job cuts and more tailored R&D operations, with the focus specifically on oncology, gastroenterology and central nervous system drugs.
Several deals have in the last year have helped further those ambitions.
In oncology, Takeda is currently working with Nektar Therapeutics to research how the biotech's lead immuno-oncology candidate, a CD122 agonist, affects the tumor microenvironment. A $5.2 billion acquisition of Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc. and a potentially $145 million licensing agreement with Exelixis Inc. have also expanded Takeda's cancer pipeline.
And in neuroscience, Takeda is jointly developing its Parkinson's drug MEDI1341 with AstraZeneca plc.
Friday's deals fall right in line with its previous dealmaking activity — fleshing out its neuroscience and gastroenterology R&D and, perhaps more importantly, giving it a stronger foothold in the U.S. and Europe (where Denali and TiGenix are located, respectively).
Takeda intends to pay €1.78 per share in cash for all the TiGenix securities it doesn't already own. The Denali deal will also be funded with cash as well as an equity stake in the South San Francisco-based biotech. Takeda recorded JPY 431 billion (about $3.8 billion) in cash and cash equivalents as of Sept. 30, according to its most recent quarterly report.
Denali may take home a considerable amount more, as there's at least $90 million in preclinical milestones and opt-in payments on the line. The biotech is in charge of running and funding research programs until Investigational New Drug filings for each of the three programs. Takeda can opt into developing and commercializing those programs, at which point the companies will split clinical work and costs equally.
Once in the clinic, Denali will lead early development while Takeda leads later-stage trials. The partners will jointly commercialize any resulting products in the U.S. and China, but Takeda maintains exclusive commercialization rights in all other markets.
According to a Jan. 5 statement, TiGenix's board of directors and CEO have unanimously backed the takeover.