INCHEON, Korea—Risk-sharing and unmet medical need are the name of the game for a new collaboration between Samsung Bioepis Co. Ltd. (a joint venture between Samsung BioLogics and Biogen) and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. The two companies have begun a strategic collaboration agreement to jointly fund and co-develop multiple novel biologic therapies in unmet disease areas.
Though no specific terms were released, it was noted that the first therapeutic candidate up to bat will be Takeda's TAK-671, which is being developed as a treatment for severe acute pancreatitis.
"Takeda’s extensive knowledge and expertise in drug development makes the company an ideal partner for us as we open a new chapter at Samsung Bioepis," Christopher Hansung Ko, president and CEO of Samsung Bioepis, commented in a press release. "Five years ago, we entered the biopharmaceutical industry with a strong determination to transform the way therapies are brought to patients by replacing legacy processes with new and innovative ones. Together with Takeda, we look forward to realizing this goal vision by accelerating the development of effective therapies for patients who are currently without a viable treatment option."
Samsung Bioepis brings with it a focus in biologics, and notes on its website that it “employs the latest analytical techniques for physicochemical and functional analyses, while using comprehensive control strategies and real-time monitoring to ensure consistency throughout the manufacturing process.” The company's first six biosimilars address immunology, oncology and metabolic diseases. Takeda's areas of interest consist of oncology, gastroenterology and the central nervous system, indications “where patient need is great, where we can build upon our deep scientific expertise, where we have a strong track record of recent successes and where we intend to continue discovering innovative new medicines,” according to the firm's website. The company also leverages its drug development efforts in the field of vaccines.
"At Takeda, we think differently—and creatively—about what makes a partnership successful and look to build on our strengths by collaborating with partners who have complementary expertise,” said Dr. Daniel Curran, head of the Center for External Innovation at Takeda. “This collaboration with Samsung Bioepis does that, by combining our unique capabilities in development and manufacturing along with fresh and innovative clinical approaches, we will maximize the potential for successful introduction of important medicines to patients.”
This is the third agreement announced by Takeda this month. On August 3, the company shared news of a collaboration agreement with Molecular Templates Inc., signed through Takeda's wholly owned subsidiary, Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc. The deal is focused on oncology drug discovery programs, under which the companies will apply Molecular Templates' engineered toxin bodies technology platform against potential therapeutic targets provided by Takeda through a joint-company scientific committee. Per the agreement, Takeda will make an equity investment in Molecular Templates and will appoint a director to the latter company's board. Molecular Templates stands to receive upfront payments and development and commercial milestones, and Takeda has agreed on royalties on the sales of products resulting from the collaboration. For its part, Takeda will have a right to exercise exclusive options to obtain license rights to products created under this agreement, and Molecular Templates would be responsible for manufacturing and supply of products licensed by Takeda through Phase 1 clinical development.
The day before that, Takeda announced that it was teaming up with newly established Cardurion Pharmaceuticals under the auspices of a cardiovascular development partnership that will aim to generate novel, next-generation therapeutics for heart failure and heart disease. Takeda will provide Cardurion with a 12-person cardiovascular research team and fully equipped laboratory space, development resources and licenses to select preclinical-stage cardiovascular drug programs.
“The creation of this partnership with Cardurion follows Takeda’s strategy to leverage external innovation by placing selected assets and outstanding scientists into entrepreneurial environments,” commented Dr. Andrew Plump, Takeda's chief medical and scientific officer. “By leveraging the high level of therapeutic expertise at Takeda’s Shonan Research Center to support drug discovery, we’re motivating scientists to come together to deliver on our promise of serving patients with existing unmet needs.”