Takeda Pharmaceutical has entered a research collaboration with Shattuck Labs to study and develop checkpoint fusion proteins that have the potential to be used as highly differentiated, advanced immunotherapies for cancer.
Under the deal, Takeda will obtain options for exclusive global development and marketing rights for up to four molecules developed from the research.
Shattuck Labs chairman and CEO Josiah Hornblower said: “Takeda shares our passion and mission to develop and advance novel therapies in oncology, with the goal of achieving better clinical outcomes in patients.”
Shattuck Lab uses its Agonist Redirected Checkpoint (ARC) platform to help combine two binding domains that would create fusion proteins.
The fusion proteins can be capable of restoring and improving immune system function in a single construction.
The ARC molecules can simultaneously block checkpoint molecules and stimulate TNF superfamily co-stimulatory receptors on T-cells and innate cells, which are targets controlling the immune system and often dysregulated in cancers, thereby allowing combination immunotherapy with a single product.
Takeda Pharmaceutical Oncology Drug Development Unit and Immunology Unit head Dr Christopher Arendt said: “Shattuck Labs has pioneered the unique ARC platform, and we are excited about the opportunity this collaboration presents to develop groundbreaking, next-generation immuno-oncology treatments.
“Research partnerships are a key aspect of our continued dedication to oncology innovation, and this collaboration will bring us closer to our goal of discovering, developing and delivering breakthrough oncology therapies.”
Under the new partnership, the companies will conduct two pre-clinical and four discovery stage programmes and Takeda will invest in the pre-clinical and clinical development.
The company signed the research collaboration agreement through its wholly owned subsidiary, Millennium Pharmaceuticals.
Earlier this month, Takeda entered a collaboration agreement for Molecular Templates’ engineered toxin bodies (ETB) technology platform to support oncology drug discovery programmes.