Engitix and Takeda have signed an agreement for the expansion of a current partnership to include the discovery and development of new therapies for fibrostenotic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease (CD).

As per the deal, the companies will partner to confirm and validate targets, as well as carry out the preclinical development of therapies in IBD leveraging the extracellular matrix (ECM) discovery platform of Engitix.

The alliance will merge the ECM platform with the capabilities of Takeda in gastroenterology research and development, and marketing.

Engitix is entitled to receive an upfront payment and further near-term payments from the Takeda contingent to target validation.

Furthermore, Engitix will receive up to nearly $300m upon meeting preclinical, development, regulatory and commercial milestones.

Takeda will also pay further royalties based on the product sales. 

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Under the agreement, Takeda will own exclusive rights for the development and marketing of the clinical candidates created against established targets arising from the alliance. 

The latest deal follows a prior partnership entered by Engitix and Takeda in 2020 to discover and develop new therapies for advanced fibrotic liver diseases, including non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.

Takeda GI Drug Discovery Unit head Dr Gareth Hicks said: “Partnerships are central to our R&D strategy, forming collaborations anchored around novel scientific approaches in disease areas where patients’ needs are greatest. 

“Engitix’s ECM platform will help accelerate the identification and validation of novel targets that will be valuable in our search for better therapies for all those affected by GI and liver diseases.”

An intestinal inflammation-driven fibrotic obstruction, fibrostenosis is usually observed in IBD’s CD category. 

Currently, there exists no cure for IBD and the failure rates of the primary and secondary therapy among existing treatments are high.