Takeda Pharmaceutical has entered into an exclusive licence and option agreement with Natrogen Therapeutics International.
The licensing is for the development of Natrogen’s Natura-alpha compound for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), while the option agreement will also include the acquisition of Natrogen by Takeda.
Natura-alpha is believed to inhibit pro-inflammatory cytokine expression that might help in reducing gastrointestinal inflammation, is currently in the Phase II development for the treatment of ulcerative colitis (UC).
The Phase II clinical trial of Natura-alpha is designed to assess the efficacy and safety in patients with ulcerative colitis.
Takeda vice-president of general medicine Asit Parikh said the agreement strengthens the company’s commitment towards addressing the needs of patients with gastrointestinal diseases.
"Natura-alpha is a strategic fit with our gastrointestinal portfolio, which also includes vedolizumab, Takeda’s investigational monoclonal antibody for the treatment of adults with moderately to severely active UC and Crohn’s disease," Parikh said.
As part of the deal, Natrogen grants Takeda an exclusive licence for the worldwide development of Natura-alpha in all indications, as well as an option to acquire Natrogen.
In exchange, Natrogen will get an up-front payment and potential future payments upon the exercise of Takeda’s option to acquire Natrogen, including a payment upon closing of the option to acquire Natrogen and potential post-closing contingent payments following achievement of certain regulatory and sales milestones.
Takeda said that it will fund and execute all additional clinical development.
While Leerink Swann served as the exclusive financial advisor and Covington & Burling served as the legal advisor for the transaction for Natrogen, Ropes & Gray served as legal advisor for the deal for Takeda.
The company said that Natura-alpha is believed to block inflammatory cytokines, while stimulating the production of cytokine IL-10 that can repress pro-inflammatory responses and limit unnecessary tissue disruptions caused by inflammation.
Image: Histopathological image of the active stage of ulcerative colitis. Photo: courtesy of KGH.