Takeda has signed a licensing agreement with UK biotech Engitix to develop new therapies for advanced fibrotic liver diseases, including non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
The companies will work together on the confirmation and validation of targets and preclinical development of therapeutics in liver fibrosis using Engitix’ unique extracellular matrix (ECM) discovery platform.
By incorporating tissue- and disease-specific human ECM into in vitro models, the platform preserves the natural cell microenvironment offering the unique capability of understanding the bioactive role of human ECM in modulating disease progression in fibrosis.
Being able to more accurately predict disease drivers in human samples should accelerate discovery and reduce late-stage clinical failures, the firms noted.
Under the terms of the deal, Takeda will have exclusive rights to develop and commercialise clinical candidates generated against validated targets derived from the collaboration.
Engitix will receive an upfront payment, with additional near-term payments based on the confirmation and functional validation of selected targets, and also stands to bank more than $500 million for the achievement of preclinical, development, regulatory and commercial milestones, as well as further royalty payments upon sales of commercialised products.
“Having Takeda, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies with world-class drug development and commercialisation capabilities, as a major collaborator, will accelerate the translation of novel ECM-derived targets into potential therapeutics for humans,” said Dr Giuseppe Mazza, the UK group’s co-founder and chief executive.
“We are excited to continue working with Takeda as this is the only partnership in the field of liver fibrosis currently using a human disease-specific ECM platform, paving the way for potential first-in class anti-fibrotic therapeutics”.