US-based Skyhawk Therapeutics has formed a strategic alliance with Takeda Pharmaceutical to discover and develop small molecule drug candidates for multiple targets across neurodegenerative diseases.
Skyhawk will leverage its SkySTAR platform to identify and pre-clinically develop RNA splicing modifiers. The technology is designed to correct the underlying genetics of a disease at the mRNA level.
The SkySTAR platform combines information from computational, kinetic and structural models of RNA.
Under the agreement, Takeda will have an exclusive worldwide licence to develop and commercialise compounds and products directed towards various targets.
In turn, the Japanese company will make an upfront payment to Skyhawk, which is also eligible for future milestone payments and royalties. Specific financial details have not been disclosed.
Takeda will carry out the clinical development and potential commercialisation of the drug candidates resulting from the alliance.
Takeda Neuroscience therapeutic area head Emiliangelo Ratti said: “Takeda is deeply committed to pursuing innovative approaches that target central nervous system diseases with no available or effective treatments.
“Skyhawk’s novel approach in correcting RNA expression will complement our expertise in small molecule science and may improve our chances of targeting neurological diseases that have previously been considered undruggable.”
Last June, Skyhawk signed a five-year global strategic collaboration with Celgene to develop and commercialise new treatments for neurological diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Huntington’s disease.
Under the deal, which also leverages Skyhawk’s STAR platform, Celgene could license the rights for up to five programmes to create therapeutic candidates.
This was followed by a partnership with Biogen in January, under which the companies agreed to use the SkySTAR platform to identify small molecules for various neurological diseases.