Third Rock's Goldfinch bags rights to Takeda kidney disease drug

Tony Johnson - Goldfinch Bio
Goldfinch Bio CEO Tony Johnson (Goldfinch Bio)

Goldfinch Bio has secured the global rights to a peripherally restricted cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) monoclonal antibody from Takeda. The Third Rock startup plans to file an IND for the treatment for rare and metabolic kidney diseases in the second half of next year.

Massachusetts-based Goldfinch is built on a platform designed to identify kidney-specific targets. The platform, which combines genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic and clinical data, underpins a pipeline of internal preclinical programs against focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, diabetic nephropathy and polycystic kidney disease.

Goldfinch has padded that pipeline through a deal with Takeda for GFB-024. The deal, the terms of which remain private, gives Goldfinch global rights to an antibody against CB1, a target found in the kidney that preclinical studies have linked to the pathogenesis of diabetic kidney disease.  

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Scientists at Goldfinch plan to build on the existing research by using their platform to identify the subsets of kidney disease patients most likely to respond to the therapy. Goldfinch is interested in testing the drug in diabetic nephropathy and obesity-related glomerulopathies, indications in which it thinks the asset may have metabolic benefits and positive effects on fibrosis and kidney function.

Goldfinch aims to file an IND in the second half of next year, putting GFB-024 on track to be the second of its drugs to enter human testing after a TRPC5 inhibitor, GFB-887, that is already in phase 1.

Responsibility for taking GFB-024 forward will fall squarely on Goldfinch, but Takeda has retained an option to regain some rights to the asset later in development. Prior to the initiation of pivotal studies, Takeda can ask Goldfinch to enter into negotiations for the rights to the asset in Japan, its home market. 

The deal continues a busy year for Goldfinch, which first broke cover late in 2016 when it unveiled a $55 million series A round. Goldfinch used the money to advance its platform and pipeline, leading to a deal worth $55 million upfront with Gilead Sciences in May and the initiation of the GFB-887 phase 1 the following month.   

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