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Takeda and KSQ Therapeutics to develop immune-based cancer treatments

Collaboration will utilise KSQ’s CRISPR-screening technology

Japanese pharma company Takeda has signed a collaboration agreement with KSQ Therapeutics to develop and market novel immune-based cancer therapies using its CRIPSR-screening technology.

As part of the agreement, Takeda will gain an exclusive worldwide licence to develop, manufacture and commercialise cell and non-cell therapy products identified using KSQ’s CRSIPR-screening platform, CRISPRomics technology.

KSQ’s CRISPomics platform utilises CRISPR/Cas9 technology to identify and genetically validate ‘optimal’ novel targets for drug discovery. According to KSQ, this technology has potential across multiple therapeutic areas, including Takeda’s therapeutic target of oncology.

Takeda is set to gain two T cell targets previously identified and validated by KSQ as part the deal, with the potential to add an additional two T cell targets to the collaboration.

Takeda will also work with KSQ on the discovery and development of natural killer (NK) cell targeted therapies identified through the collaboration.

“KSQ’s CRISPRomics discovery platform is a powerful technology to help us identify novel targets in line with our immuno-oncology strategy,” said Loïc Vincent, Head, Oncology Drug Discovery Unit and Immunology Unit at Takeda.

“Working alongside KSQ will facilitate smart drug discovery and development of what we hope will be transformative new therapies for patients with intractable forms of cancer,” he added.

Under the terms of the deal, KSQ could receive upfront and potential preclinical milestones payments exceeding $100m.

On top of that, the biotech will be eligible to receive further option payments along with development and commercialisation milestone payments.

Depending on the programme and clinical target, these payments could reach up to, and exceed, $400m per programme.

While both Takeda and KSQ will collaborate on the investigational new drug-enabling activities for the potential products, Takeda is set to lead clinical development for the identified assets.

Takeda will also fund all development and commercialisation activities, although KSQ will have the option to participate in cost/profit sharing on one of the two products based on its previously identified and validated T cell targets.

“This foundational strategic alliance with Takeda builds on our CRISPRomics platform and deep expertise in immuno-oncology, which will enable us to continue to discover and develop important therapeutics for cancer patients,” said Theo Melas-Kyriazi, chairman of the board at KSQ Therapeutics.

“As we look to 2021, we expect to continue our progress in advancing these programmes and to opportunistically seek partnerships to leverage our broad platform capabilities where it makes sense to do so,” he added.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

14th January 2021

From: Research



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