BioXcel adds Takeda to its roster of A-list clients

BioXcel CEO Vimal Mehta

BioXcel has added another big name to its list of clients. Takeda is the latest company to sign up to work with BioXcel, a database-driven drug discovery shop that already boasts relationships with Alexion ($ALXN), Sanofi ($SNY), Teva ($TEVA) and Vertex ($VRTX).

Branford, CT-based BioXcel has signed up Alexion, Takeda and Vertex as users of its PharmGPS data analytics offering in the 10 months since it added rare disease-focused elements to the platform. A spokesperson for BioXcel told FierceBiotechIT the company is also working with Sanofi and Teva in some capacity. The Takeda deal is a twist on BioXcel's agreements with Alexion and Vertex, with the Japanese drugmaker using the same database as those earlier collaborations but zeroing in on its ability to suggest new uses for existing assets.

If BioXcel can crack repurposing, it could open up a lucrative market. "Discovering novel applications for existing molecules is an increasingly attractive strategy to address patient needs, while capitalizing on previous investments and de-risking clinical development," BioXcel CEO Vimal Mehta said in a statement. Many other companies are working on the problem, though, from IBM ($IBM) down to the Y Combinator-backed startup Notable Labs. For BioXcel to carve out a niche it will have to show its platform can hold its own against the likes of IBM's Watson Discovery Advisor.

The platform, like the computer-driven discovery sector as a whole, is still awaiting the validation that would come from drug-indication combinations it identifies succeeding consistently in the clinic. But as BioXcel--and a clutch of notable drug developers--see it, the groundwork for such a breakthrough is now in place. "We've been assessing drug pipelines for the past decade. What has changed in the past couple of years is the access to cloud-based computing and the large volume of clinical, scientific and commercial data," BioXcel CSO Krishnan Nandabalan told

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