Takeda teams up with Twist Bioscience to boost biologics R&D

Takeda HQ

Japanese Big Pharma Takeda has paired with synthetic DNA services company Twist Bioscience to level up its biologics capacity.

Under the pact, financials of which were not disclosed, Takeda will tap the South San Francisco-based company’s phage display libraries for the discovery, validation and optimization of antibodies in Takeda’s pipeline of biologics across its four core areas: oncology, rare diseases, neuroscience and gastroenterology.

Together, the companies will work to discover, validate and optimize new antibody candidates. In return, Takeda will pay Twist annual technology licensing fees as well as milestones and royalties for all compounds discovered from the Twist phage display libraries.

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“Twist’s unique ability to generate robust, diverse and cutting-edge libraries through its proprietary silicon platform together with our deep insight into therapeutic drug discovery and development will help us expand a growing pipeline of targeted biologic candidates,” said Robert Mabry, head of global biologics research at Takeda.

It's been a good year for synthetic DNA weaver Twist, which at the start of 2020 announced a handful of new collaborations amid a $140 million raise from an underwritten public offering.

The company is working on delivering a new solution focused on data and genomic analysis with the help of Sophia Genetics as well as the development of target enrichment tools and library preparation kits through collaborations with GenapSys and Miroculus.

The $140 million brought in by Twist came from it selling over 5.3 million shares of common stock at $28 apiece. The company has slated the net proceeds for its R&D programs—which include investments in biologic drug discovery and DNA data storage research—as well as its global expansion.

Its shares jumped 10% on the Takeda tie-up this week, its first with a Big Pharma.

“We look forward to applying our unique ability to generate robust, diverse and cutting-edge libraries together with Takeda’s deep insight into therapeutic drug discovery and development to truly forge new frontiers in bringing personalized therapies to patients worldwide,” added Emily Leproust, Ph.D., CEO and co-founder of Twist Bioscience.