Crescendo lands $790M deal with Takeda

The companies will collaborate to develop tumor-targeting drug conjugates and immuno- oncology therapeutics using Crescendo's Humabody platform

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CAMBRIDGE, U.K., CAMBRIDGE, Mass. & OSAKA, Japan—Drug discovery company Crescendo Biologics Limited has secured a deal with industry giant Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. focused on the former's therapeutics platform. The companies have inked a global, strategic, multi-target collaboration and license agreement to discover, develop and commercialize Humabody-based therapeutics for cancer indications with high unmet medical needs.
The agreements were signed between Crescendo and Takeda's wholly owned subsidiary, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Per the terms of the deal, Crescendo stands to receive up to $36 million between an upfront payment, investment, research funding and preclinical milestone payments. Crescendo will leverage its proprietary transgenic platform to discover and configure Humabody candidates (Humabody Drug Conjugates and Immuno-Oncology modulators) against multiple targets selected by Takeda. The latter will have the right to develop and commercialize any Humabody-based therapeutics that result from this collaboration. Crescendo is eligible to receive up to an additional $754 million in clinical development, regulatory and sales-based milestone payments as well as royalties on any Humabody-based product sales by Takeda.
“This collaboration with Takeda represents a significant step forward for Crescendo. It provides validation of our transgenic platform and our capabilities to rapidly assemble and configure small, differentiated Humabody-based therapeutics, opening routes to novel biology,” said Dr. Peter Pack, CEO of Crescendo Biologics, commented regarding the deal. “As a leading global pharmaceutical company, Takeda brings extraordinary expertise in the oncology area with significant capabilities in developing and delivering novel medicines to patients. This first major collaboration enables us to potentially broaden and accelerate innovative Humabody-based product candidates.”
Crescendo's Humabody therapeutics are based on the company's VH domain technology platform. Humabodies are a novel class of potent protein therapeutics that are both robust and extremely small. They are based on fully human VH domain building blocks and have excellent biophysical properties that allow for rapid, efficient assembly and screening of a variety of bi- and multi-specific Humabody candidates.
“We see significant potential in Crescendo and its innovative technology to develop unique, small and customizable Humabody-based therapeutics,” said Dr. Andrew Plump, chief medical and scientific officer at Takeda, said in a press release. “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.
This announcement comes a few weeks after Takeda released news of another collaboration, one with French biotech Affilogic. The companies struck up a research collaboration to explore the use of Affilogic's Nanofitins platform for treating central nervous system disorders. Though no financial details were disclosed, Takeda and Affilogic will work together to validate and optimize Nanofitins for delivering biotherapeutics to the brain. Affilogic's Nanofitins are a novel class of targeting ligands that offer a number of characteristics that would make them ideal for treating neurological disorders, including very small size—they are roughly 20 times smaller than a monoclonal antibody—better tissue penetration and extreme robustness. In addition, they demonstrate high affinity and specificity for targeting and interaction with biomolecules and can be easily conjugated to antibodies, small molecules and nanoparticles.

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