Tiny Crescendo Biologics Hammers Out $790 Million Immuno-Oncology Deal With Biotech Giant Takeda

Published: Oct 11, 2016

Tiny Crescendo Biologics Hammers Out $790 Million Immuno-Oncology Deal with Biotech Giant Takeda October 10, 2016
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

Crescendo Biologics, based in Cambridge, UK, announced that it had inked a deal with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company that could hit $790 million.

Crescendo’s Humabody platform technology will be used to discover and optimize candidates against multiple targets chosen by Takeda. The technology platform focuses on a proprietary transgenic mouse, which allows it to develop Humabodies, which are similar to monoclonal antibodies, but are small in size, less expensive, and according to the company, offer “modular plug & play engineering options for generating novel bi- or multi-specific formats.”

Under the deal, Crescendo will receive up to $36 million in an upfront payment, investment, research funding and preclinical milestones. Takeda will hold the right to develop and commercialize Humabody-based therapeutics that come out of the collaboration deal. Crescendo may also receive milestone payments up to $754 million, as well as royalties on any Humabody-based product sales made by Takeda.

“We see significant potential in Crescendo and its innovative technology to develop unique, small and customizable Humabody-based therapeutics,” said Andrew Plum, Takeda’s chief medical and scientific officer, in a statement. “Collaborations are critical to helping us achieve our aspiration of curing cancer. Working together with Crescendo will enable us to leverage its important technology to support Takeda’s goal of developing next generation, highly modular and targeted therapies to treat cancer.”

On September 28, Crescendo announced that its novel transgenic mouse platform (Crescendo Mouse) had been granted U.S. patent No. 9,439,405. This patented mouse apparently does not produce functional endogenous antibody lambda light chains because of specific deletions in the lambda light chain locus. The Crescendo Mouse, as a result, produces fully human VH domains in a proprietary “triple knockout” background without mouse antibodies.

“We are building a pipeline of differentiated, potent therapeutics of minimal size that leverage our proprietary technology platform,” Peter Pack, Crescendo’s chief executive officer, said in a statement at the time. “We are seeking to address the issues of current biologics based on conventional IgGs with rapidly configured multi-specific Humabody therapeutics. Our design is based on fully human VH building blocks from our transgenic mouse without the inherent risk of artificial scaffolds. This results in improved therapeutic index option which we combine with excellent potency and druggability.”

Takeda, for its part, has been launching a new strategy called Access to Medicines (AtM). The shift, according to the company, comes down to: “For decades, the company has provided product, funding and access in many parts of the world, based on regional needs. The new AtM strategy builds on that by focusing on geographies and therapy areas with the highest unmet need.”

Some of that restructuring involved the development of a joint company, Teva Takeda Yakuhin, between Takeda and Israeli company, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries . The joint company will market generic drugs in Japan.

Of today’s deal, Pack said, “This collaboration with Takeda represents a significant step forward for Crescendo. It provides validation of our transgenic platform and our capabilities to rapidly assemble and configure small, differentiated Humabody-based therapeutics, opening routes to novel biology. As a leading global pharmaceutical company, Takeda brings extraordinary expertise in the oncology area with significant capabilities in developing and delivering novel medicines to patients. This first major collaboration enables us to potentially broaden and accelerate innovative Humabody-based product candidates.”

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