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Takeda snaps up CNS drug developer Envoy Therapeutics in $140M deal

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Japan's Takeda has moved in to snap up a Florida biotech equipped with some novel CNS drug technology and backed by a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who's played a prominent role in the field.

The Japanese pharma giant will pay up to $140 million for Envoy Therapeutics in an upfront and milestone payments, possibly laying out some healthy returns for the investors behind a drug developer launched three years ago with $8 million in venture cash, including money from Takeda's venture arm.

Envoy was founded by Nobel laureate Paul Greengard--who had focused his research work on dopamine--and Howard Hughes investigator Nathaniel Heintz. The biotech had highlighted its role in marrying genetic engineering and molecular biology in the search for new protein therapeutics that could tackle a long lineup of severe ailments such as Parkinson's and schizophrenia. Just last May the Michael J. Fox Foundation stepped up with $1.2 million to support the move to clinical development of a new oral therapy that could provide the benefit of dopamine replacement therapy without the usual side effects. 

"Since our initial investment in 2009, it has been clear to us that Envoy's scientific excellence in combination with their vision for the utilization of bacTRAP technology have great potential to create and explore truly innovative targets across multiple therapeutic areas," said Dr. Paul Chapman, General Manager of Pharmaceutical Research Division at Takeda.

Takeda's gain is Florida's loss. The pharma company says it plans to wrap up Envoy's work in Jupiter next March and shift operations to San Diego, where it has the Takeda Pharmaceuticals Research Division.

- here's the press release

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