Shiny new startup Egle grabs a deal with Takeda for cancer research

It only officially launched in early 2020 but Egle Therapeutics is not hanging around, penning a new R&D deal with Japanese pharma Takeda.

It’s not big numbers: Takeda will invest €4.6 million in convertible debt through its venture arm, but will tap Paris, France-based Egle to help uncover new tumor-specific regulatory T-cell targets, as well as working on anti-suppressor-based immunotherapies.

The biotech, set up earlier this year, is a spin-out of the of Institut Curie by Luc Boblet, a serial biotech entrepreneur, and Dr. Eliane Piaggio, Ph. D, a well-known immunologist in the Treg / IL-2 field.

The European biotech is developing what it says are first-in-class immunotherapies targeting immune suppressor regulatory T cells (a.k.a. Tregs) for oncology and autoimmune diseases.

This follows Takeda’s long-standing game plan that has seen make dozens of tie-ups with biotechs big and small, making bets on its key areas that include oncology and autoimmune disease.

Under the pact, Egle Therapeutics will lead target validation efforts on a subset targets Egle has identified, while Takeda will work on the development, manufacturing, and selling of any resulting therapies.

Egle will nab an upfront payment and research funding, and is in line to get additional development and sales milestone payments based on the exclusivity of targets selected by Takeda, although specifics of the money, as with the targets involved, were not shared.

Boblet, co-founder and CEO of Egle Tx, said: “We are thrilled to engage with Takeda to fully exploit the great therapeutic potential of inhibiting the most immunosuppressive arm of immunity to restore antitumor immune response. We believe that joining forces would be the most efficient path to successfully develop a novel generation of anti-Treg immunotherapies for the benefit of patients.”

Other biotechs are working in the Treg field, including Gilead via its deal with Kyverna, combining Kyverna’s synthetic Treg platform with the synthetic gene expression system synNotch from Gilead’s Kite unit, as well newcomer Sonoma Biotherapeutics and Fierce 15 winner Quell Tx.

“Working with Egle to leverage the unique translational derived patient data bringing tumor-specific Treg targets is an exciting prospect to further advance our immuno-oncology drug discovery efforts,” added Loïc Vincent, head of the oncology drug discovery unit at Takeda.

“Targeting tumor-infiltrating regulatory T-cells to overcome the immune suppression in tumor microenvironments will complement our current immuno-oncology approaches and help advance an exciting portfolio.”