Anima Biotech and Takeda Pharmaceutical are collaborating to discover and develop mRNA translation modulators for neurological diseases.

According to the deal, Anima will discover mRNA translation modulators using its Translation Control Therapeutics platform to develop a new class of medicines for genetically-defined neurological diseases.

The preclinical research collaboration initially includes Anima’s early Huntington’s Disease programme against the huntingtin (HTT) target, selectively preventing the mutated protein with small molecules.

It also includes two additional targets set by Takeda and related to neurological diseases.

Takeda will make nearly $120m in upfront and preclinical research milestone payments and about $1.1bn in clinical and commercial milestones to Anima.

Anima will also get tiered royalties on the net sales of each product.

Subject to additional payments of up to $1.2bn and tiered royalties to Anima, Takeda has a limited-time option to expand the collaboration for up to three additional targets.

Anima Biotech co-founder and CEO Yochi Slonim said: “Partnering is a core strategy of Anima and our model is to build collaborations that maximise the probability of success by combining our discovery platform and expertise in translation control biology with the scientific, clinical and commercial capabilities of our partners.

“Takeda‘s leadership and depth of scientific expertise in the central nervous system (CNS) area is ideally suited for our second pharma partnership in Neuroscience and further validates our leadership in mRNA translation control.”

Takeda has the exclusive rights to develop and commercialise the molecules, which the company aims to advance to clinical candidates.

Takeda Neuroscience Drug Discovery Unit head Ceri Davies said: “By combining Anima’s platform with our strength in translational medicine and clinical development, we aim to develop medicines that deliver greater benefits to patients with genetically-defined neurological diseases where there are non-existent or ineffective treatment options.”