Takeda continues collaboration run to bolster global immuno-oncology footprint, says GlobalData

The need to develop novel innovative cancer drugs at affordable prices is forcing large pharmaceutical firms to collaborate with biotech companies and academic institutions. Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceuticals too is focusing on strategic collaborations to bolster its global immuno-oncology (IO) footprint, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

In January 2021, Takeda entered a broad strategic collaboration with KSQ Therapeutics to research, develop and commercialize novel immune-oncology therapies for cancer. The deal includes an exclusive, worldwide license to develop two T-cell targets previously identified and validated using KSQ’s CRISPRomics technology, with the potential to introduce two additional T-cell targets, and natural killer (NK) cell targets to the collaboration.

According to GlobalData’s Pharma Intelligence Center, Takeda has completed 22 IO strategic drug development collaborations between 2016 and 2020.

GlobalData’s report, ‘Drug Development Sector Scorecard – Thematic Research, January 2021’, reveals that the global market for immuno-oncology therapies, which was valued at US$66bn in 2020, is projected to increase to US$180bn in 2026.

Ms. Sasmitha Sahu, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “The latest collaboration further builds on the multiple research collaborations consistently entered by Takeda since the past five years to advance the company’s novel IO portfolio. These deals are noteworthy given that IO tops the 10 most important themes driving the future performance of pharma R&D over the next two to four years.”

Oncology is one of the top four core therapeutic areas for Takeda. The company reported year-to-date oncology sales of US$3.03bn* (JPY318.5bn) until December 2020 in its FY2020 (April 2020-March 2021) Q3 results, which was over 10% of its overall sales. Leading brands such as Velcade (bortezomib), leuprorelin, Ninlaro (ixazomib), Iclusig (ponatinib), Adcetris (brentuximab), and Alunbrig (brigatinib) were instrumental behind the growth.

Ms. Sahu adds: “Takeda’s marketed oncology portfolio contains only targeted therapies. The company is yet to harness the potential of standalone biologics-based IO therapies regardless of numerous IO deals.”

According to Takeda’s FY2020 Q3 results, TAK-007, an allogenic CAR-NK cell therapy for CD19+ hematological malignancies, is expected to be approved by 2024. Furthermore, five oncology cell therapy programs are expected to be in clinical development by the end of FY2021.

Takeda also announced that its newly opened manufacturing facility in the US will initially focus on oncology, specifically to develop next-generation cell therapies.

Ms. Sahu concludes: “Takeda has been very actively forging IO collaborations to build a well differentiated oncology pipeline and expand beyond targeted therapies. Moreover, Takeda’s dedicated manufacturing capabilities will further help in its global plans within the IO market.”

*1 US$=104.84 Japanese Yen

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