Takeda licenses ProThera plasma drug for use in inflammatory conditions

Takeda HQ
ProThera and Takeda will collaborate on IND-enabling activities for a treatment for acute inflammatory conditions. (Takeda)

Takeda has allied with ProThera Biologics to develop a plasma-derived inter-alpha inhibitor proteins (IAIP) therapy for use in acute inflammatory conditions. The deal advances Takeda’s efforts to extract value from the plasma-derived therapy unit it acquired in its $62 billion takeover of Shire. 

ProThera thinks IAIP, naturally occurring plasma proteins, can dampen inflammation in the blood and tissues via multiple mechanisms, creating a role for the molecules in the treatment of conditions such as pneumonia, stroke and sepsis. The biotech has spent close to 20 years working to validate that hypothesis, securing small investments and grants along the way but largely flying below the radar.

That changed this week when Takeda disclosed a deal with ProThera “to explore the untapped potential of plasma in order to address challenging rare and complex diseases.” In return for an undisclosed financial package, Takeda has entered into a global licensing agreement for an IAIP therapy for use in acute inflammatory conditions characterized by rapid declines in the plasma proteins.

ProThera and Takeda will collaborate on IND-enabling activities. Takeda will lead development and cover the cost of getting a drug to market and commercializing it following approval, if it gets that far.

The deal comes months after Takeda set out its vision for its plasma-derived therapies unit, which came to be part of its business following a series of transactions involving Baxter, Baxalta and Shire. Takeda thinks the probability of R&D success in the plasma field is “generally high.” Coupled with high barriers to entry, that has contributed to Takeda identifying plasma as a growth area.

Partnering with Takeda gives ProThera a way around those barriers to entry. Takeda has the means to source the donations that serve as the starting material for plasma-derived therapies and the capacity to process the materials into finished products. The Japanese drugmaker is adding capacity along the plasma supply chain. 

Takeda is yet to share details of when the ProThera-partnered program will start to make significant use of that capacity. Based on preclinical IAIP studies conducted by ProThera, the partners plan to carry out IND-enabling activities but have not publicly disclosed a timeline for getting into the clinic, nor have they discussed the indications they plan to go after when they do so.

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