Takeda's gene therapy hunger not yet quelled as Evozyne pact extended for $400M in biobucks

It’s all about the proteins for Takeda’s latest deal with molecular engineering company Evozyne, which will see the two companies work together to develop new ones that can be incorporated into the next generation of gene therapy for rare diseases.

The deal is worth $400 million down the line, with an undisclosed “double-digit million” upfront payment and research funding payments, the companies said in a press release Tuesday morning.

Evozyne will use its advanced computational and machine learning methods to discover novel protein sequences for gene therapies. Once the research is complete, Takeda will have a licensing option to develop and commercialize the sequences through the Japanese pharma’s gene therapy program.

Takeda has made some aggressive moves in gene therapy lately. It signed a $2 billion biobucks pact with Code Biotherapeutics for four programs in February, for one. That tie-up followed another worth $1.12 billion with Selecta Biosciences covering gene therapies for lysosomal storage disorders. But wait, there’s more: Takeda also signed a research collaboration with Poseida Therapeutics in October 2021 worth a potential $3.6 billion and a $303 million pact with Genevant in August 2021.

It's safe to say that Takeda is going all-in on gene therapy.

This is not the pharma's first time working with Evozyne, either. The companies initially teamed up in January 2021 to develop gene therapy proteins for metabolic diseases.

Here at Fierce, we don’t like to use the “C” word, but Takeda’s Madhu Natarajan, head of the rare diseases drug discovery unit, said the expanded partnership could someday lead to “functional cures [for] patients living with rare genetic diseases."