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Takeda, Syrrx Merge
April 2005
by Randall C. Willis  |  Email the author
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SAN DIEGO—In February, X-ray crystallography specialist Syrrx announced that it had agreed to merge with Osaka-based Takeda Pharmaceutical to become a subsidiary of Takeda American Holdings. The merger will allow Syrrx to tap into Takeda's research expertise, while offering the larger firm access to an extensive structural biology and rational drug design infrastructure.
 
According to Dr. Keith Wilson, vice president of structural chemistry and business development at Syrrx, the merger will allow Syrrx to pursue its technologies and pipelines within the security of the larger parent company.
 
"We were considering an IPO, but felt that was a higher risk venture, and we knew we would need a lot of money and time to complete it," Wilson explains. "The merger was the most attractive option to take from the point of view of the shareholders and employees. By partnering with Takeda, we have the chance to build and enhance on our Syrrx vision as a drug discovery engine."
 
Wilson also points out that by securing full and reliable operating capital, Syrrx can advance further as a drug discovery and research center for Takeda.
 
Founded in 1999, Syrrx developed a series of therapeutic compounds targeting metabolic diseases, cancer, and inflammation by leveraging its expertise in high-throughput x-ray crystallography to determine the 3-dimensional structures of putative drug targets. According to Seizo Masuda, coordinator of corporate communications for Takeda, this expertise is what made Syrrx attractive.
 
"Takeda's goal is to obtain leading-edge high-throughput protein crystallography technology," Masuda says. The technology is expected to help Takeda enhance its drug discovery pipeline and create more innovative drugs through improved discovery processes, including the identification of target molecules and hit compounds from their medicinal chemistry research. Takeda also expects to further expand its discovery pipeline by adding Syrrx's pipeline products and developing new products using Syrrx's technology and capabilities.
 
Among the products Takeda gains are a series of human dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP IV) inhibitors that principally target Type 2 diabetes, but have also shown efficacy against other human diseases. These compounds, says Masuda, are important to the product portfolio of Takeda's core business area. The company will also gain access to Syrrx's pipeline of oncology treatments targeting human histone deacetylase (HDAC) enzymes.
 
"Takeda's programs will gain access to world-class protein crystallography technology that Syrrx has developed in the past five years," Wilson adds. "We expect the Syrrx technology to improve the success rate of lead generation and optimization, and increase the number of INDs generated by the companies."
While it is still not known as to what other changes Syrrx will experience, current Syrrx president and CSO, Dr. Stephen Kaldor will maintain these titles as the two companies merge.
 
"We do not anticipate significant challenges in mixing the operations since we have observed strong cultural similarities, and each company is committed to innovative science and discovery to help people," Wilson says.
 
"We expect the merger will create new opportunities for Syrrx and Takeda that fit each company's approach and culture."
 
Syrrx does not expect any major staffing changes. "Syrrx will be viewed similar to one of Takeda's Japan-based research laboratories," he adds, "and Takeda will respect our independence as a research site."
 
Code: E040505

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