Genevant pens $303M biobucks pact with Takeda, aiming at rare liver diseases using gene therapy

Forever biotech friend Takeda is signing up to a new deal with Genevant as it doubles down on the company.

Back in March, the pair signed a deal worth $600 million in an upfront/biobucks mix to tap Genevant’s lipid nanoparticle (LNP) tech to work on nucleic acid therapeutics to target treat liver fibrosis.

Now, the Japanese pharma, which has dozens of deals with European and U.S. biotechs, is back at the table, penning a $303 million upfront/biobucks pact to again pen its LNP nonviral gene therapy tech and, also again, to target liver disease, but this time for two undisclosed rare liver diseases.

Genevant was originally one of "vants" from Vivek Ramaswamy, with parent company Roivant and Arbutus back in April 2019 pooling their resources to create the RNA-focused biotech before Ramaswamy traded off five of Vants and spread out his former biotech constellation into new majority-owned arms of Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma in 2019. Genevant was not one of them, and remains under Roivant's majority interest control.

Genevant began life with RNA delivery tech from biotech Arbutus and $37.5 million in seed funding from Roivant.

The Canadian RNA player granted Genevant an exclusive license to its LNP and ligand conjugate delivery platforms outside of hepatitis B. If that sounds familiar, it’s because Alnylam encapsulated its pioneering RNA drug patisiran, since approved, using the LNP platform.

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“LNP provides a compelling approach to deliver on the promise of gene therapy, and our leadership position in the LNP space is well established,” said Pete Lutwyche, Ph.D., president and chief at Genevant.

“We have enjoyed working with our Takeda colleagues to develop hepatic stellate cell-directed treatments to treat liver fibrosis and are delighted to expand the relationship further with this second collaboration.”

“Building on our existing foundation with Genevant in liver fibrosis, we’re excited to expand our work together to develop life-altering, nonviral gene therapies for specified rare liver diseases,” added Bernard Allan, Ph.D., head of liver disease research at Takeda.

“Genevant’s expertise in the development of LNPs for clinical applications, coupled with Takeda’s drug development capabilities and history in gastroenterology, gives us a great opportunity to develop new treatment options for patients with liver disorders.”