Ultragenyx picks up $65M investment, asset in Takeda rare disease R&D pact

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Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical ($RARE) has signed off on a rare genetic disease pact with Takeda. The deal establishes Ultragenyx as a de facto rare disease R&D outpost of Takeda, which is funneling preclinical programs and funding into its partner in return for an opportunity to pick up Asian rights to any assets that reach the market.

In the near term, the focus of the deal is on the transfer of assets from Takeda to Ultragenyx. Takeda has granted the rare disease specialist an exclusive license to one of its preclinical assets in a certain, undisclosed therapeutic field. And Ultragenyx has an exclusive option to co-develop the drug in other therapeutic areas. The asset could be the first of 6 to transfer from Takeda to Ultragenyx, which has secured itself first dibs on up to 5 more rare disease prospects in Takeda’s pipeline.

Ultragenyx will decide which, if any, of the programs it wants after a joint research committee it has set up with Takeda runs initial validation activities. If everything goes to plan, Ultragenyx will gain access to a source of pipeline prospects that can support its ambitions to bring a steady stream of rare disease drugs to market.

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“This broad collaboration provides Ultragenyx with a product opportunity that is approaching clinical-stage development as well as a potential continued source of new product candidates that will help us achieve our goal of bringing a new therapy into the clinic every one to two years,” Dr. Emil Kakkis, CEO of Ultragenyx, said in a statement.

To bankroll the work, Takeda is buying $25 million of Ultragenyx stock and paying a $15 million premium to sweeten the deal. Ultragenyx has the option to request a further $25 million investment from Takeda within the next 12 months. Takeda is presenting the investment as a way to fund the advance of a set of pipeline prospects that could come to bolster its own business.

In return for the preclinical assets and funding, Takeda has picked up an option on the Asian rights to any licensed products that emerge from the collaboration. And the company can claim the Japanese rights to one of of Ultragenyx’s pipeline programs.

- read the statement

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