The Pharma Letter: Takeda partners with Treventis on Alzheimer’s disease research

Japan’s largest drugmaker Takeda (TYO: 4502) has linked up with little-known Canadian biotech Treventis for the further research, development, and commercialization of small molecules that target tau, a key protein in Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

This therapeutic strategy aims to markedly reduce tau misfolding and is a potential disease-modifying mechanism in AD as well as in other tauopathies.

The deal provides Takeda with an option to exclusively license the program worldwide for the development and commercialization of the tau program. In return, Treventis will receive research funding as well as an upfront payment, option exercise and future clinical and commercial milestones of up to $372.5 million if all milestones are achieved over the course of the partnership plus tiered royalties on potential net sales of any commercial product resulting from the license.

Takeda has a long history in Alzheimer’s research going back as far as 1996, but with little in the way of positive tangible results. Its latest move was to join the Global CEO Initiative (CEOi) on Alzheimer’s disease in January this year. The CEOi is an effort to spur innovations in research and accelerate a means of prevention for Alzheimer’s and dementia, building momentum behind the G8’s commitment to stop the disease by 2025.
Partnership is a ‘validating milestone’
“We are very excited to work with Takeda to progress new therapies for neurodegenerative diseases,” said Christopher Barden, chief executive of Treventis. “We believe that the Treventis tau program synergizes well with Takeda’s significant expertise and commercial reach in central nervous system drug development. This partnership is a validating milestone for our Common Conformational Morphology platform as well as a major potential step forward in Alzheimer’s disease therapeutics,” he noted.
Back in 2018, Treventis entered into a collaboration with French pharma major Servier, which covers a large drug discovery program targeting both tau and amyloïde-β (Aβ), two key proteins involved in Alzheimer’s disease.
Treventis scientists have developed a methodology for targeting misfolding proteins using epitope commonality between multiple misfolded proteins. This information was used to create Common Conformational Morphology (CCM), a patented Treventis methodology for constructing models of the earliest stages of protein misfolding. CCM in silico prediction, coupled with special assays to evaluate speed of misfolding, allows for the identification and optimization of potent, drug-like compounds against targets such as tau.

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