Takeda and Crescendo create cancer partnership

Takeda has joined with UK-based biotech Crescendo Biologics in a cancer drug development deal worth up to $790 million.

The Japanese pharma said the collaboration will be based around Crescendo’s Humabody technology, and aims find treatments for cancers where there is unmet medical need.

Humabodies are smaller than antibodies and have the advantage of a smaller size, more cost-effective production, and can also be used to generate molecules that bind with targets at two or more sites.

Takeda said it will pay Crescendo $36 million in an initial upfront payment, plus investment, research funding and preclinical milestones.

Privately-held Crescendo could then receive up to $754 million in further clinical development, regulatory and sales-based milestone payments.

Cambridge-based Crescendo will also be eligible for royalties on sales from Humabody-based products by Takeda.

Andrew Plump, chief medical and scientific officer at Takeda, said: “Collaborations are critical to helping us achieve our aspiration of curing cancer. 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.”

Takeda has been restructuring after a difficult period after its Actos (pioglitazone) diabetes drug went off patent a few years ago.

New CEO Christophe Weber is leading the changes, and has outlined a strategy to make the company less reliant on Japan’s stagnant market, and is looking to expand into the US, Europe and emerging markets.

The company has reportedly earmarked around $15 billion to pay for takeovers, although it is unclear whether the latest deal has come from this funding pot.

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