Takeda, Sosei form gastrointestinal disease R&D pact

Takeda HQ
The deal comes as Takeda works to integrate Shire into its operation. (Takeda)

Takeda and Sosei Heptares have entered into a multitarget R&D agreement. Sosei is set to receive $26 million (€23 million) in upfront and near-term payments, plus up to $1.2 billion in milestones, to apply its GPCR expertise to targets of interest to Takeda.

The deal gives Takeda the exclusive global rights to candidates against the targets. Those candidates could be small molecules, biologics or other modalities. What they will have in common is the nature of their targets. All the targets selected by Takeda are G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), the class of cell membrane receptors that Sosei, through its acquired Heptares unit, specializes.

Sosei will initially apply its GPCR-focused structure-based drug design capabilities to gastrointestinal targets selected by Takeda. Specifically, Takeda is interested in drugs to treat gut inflammation and motility disorders. 

The agreement provides scope to expand the collaboration to cover other therapeutic areas. If that happens, Takeda will further tighten its ties to an organization that it first identified as a promising player around a decade ago. 

"Takeda and Sosei Heptares have enjoyed a strong relationship over the years, with its venture arm having been an early investor in Heptares. Today's newly announced partnership is the culmination of recent discussions to identify new and exciting programs where our combined expertise can be directed towards challenging diseases and targets to deliver new medicines for patients," Malcolm Weir, chief R&D officer of Sosei Heptares, said in a statement.

The deal comes as Takeda works to integrate Shire into its operation. In its recent first quarter results, Takeda said it now has 19 new molecular entities in phase 2 and 3 development. In discussing the upcoming pipeline milestones, Andy Plump, president of R&D at Takeda, said that “for the most part we’re on track.”