Adimab signs bispecific antibodies deal with Japan’s Takeda

Takeda becomes the latest in a long list of Big Pharma drugmakers to buy into Adimab’s antibody platform to help it discover and develop a range of new drugs.

Adimab has penned a multi-target partnership with Japans’ Takeda that will see the biotech use its platform to discover and optimize antibodies against multiple targets chosen by Takeda--who in return will have the right to develop and commercialize drug programs coming from the collab.

Lebanon, NH-based Adimab--which has been backed by Google ($GOOG) in previous funding rounds--will use its yeast-based discovery and optimization platform or its proprietary rapid B cell sorting capabilities to find fully human antibodies and against selected targets.

For each of these targets, Adimab will give Takeda the right to research antibodies the biotech can find from the deal, while for its troubles Adimab will receive an undisclosed upfront payment, research fees, and technical milestones.

On top of this, for each target Takeda will also have the option to exclusively license antibodies discovered during the collab, for which Adimab will get an extra payload. No financial terms of the deal were however disclosed.

Bispecific antibodies combine two or more antigen-recognizing elements into a single construct, able to bind to two or more targets.

This is not its first focus on mAbs and back in 2014, Takeda also signed a pact with MacroGenics ($MGNX) in a deal potentially worth $1.6 billion for its DART monoclonal antibody-based program for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases, along with options on the biotech’s early-stage autoimmune candidate MGD010. 

“We are pleased to be working with a company with such deep expertise in antibody discovery and engineering," stated Christopher Claiborne, head of Oncology Discovery at Takeda.

“Adimab’s breadth of technical offerings, including bispecifics, as well as their reputation in the industry enables us to continue fulfilling our mission of aspiring to cure cancer.”

Tillman Gerngross, CEO and co-founder of Adimab, added: “We are excited to have Takeda as a partner, and we look forward to demonstrating Adimab’s advantages to the Takeda team.

“This partnership, like most of our initial partnerships, will focus on a handful of projects. Our goal is to have our partners see the output from the collaboration and fall in love with the platform. We are always happy to expand the initial collaboration into additional funded discovery projects, or even transfer the platform to our partner’s facilities--to date most of our partnerships have expanded in some way.”

This comes in the same week that France’s Glaxo ($GSK) signed an updated $908 million deal with Vancouver-based Zymeworks to develop new, bispecific antibodies, although the Big Pharma is looking to use the deal to seek targets outside of cancer.

And over the past seven years, Adimab has established funded discovery collabs with over 35 companies. With this latest deal, Takeda joins an impressive list of drugmakers allured by Adimab's expertise, including: Sanofi ($SNY), Merck ($MRK), Roche ($RHHBY), Novartis ($NVS), Eli Lilly ($LLY) and GlaxoSmithKline, to name but a few.

This also comes several months after the biotech wrote a paper in the journal Science that outlined a pro bono project in which they radically reduced the amount of time it takes to identify a lineup of antibodies that could be used to combat Ebola, using Adimab's single B cell isolation platform.

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