Takeda Pharmaceutical, Astellas Pharma, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking (SMBC) have announced the signing of a master agreement to establish a joint venture (JV) focused on the incubation of early drug discovery programmes.

The partnership aims to foster innovative therapeutics, covering the entire drug discovery process from research to the launch of startups, primarily originating from Japan.

Takeda and Astellas will support the JV by sharing their global research and development expertise to promote open innovation in early-stage drug discovery.

With an initial capital of approximately Y600m ($3.87m), the new JV company will be located at Shonan Health Innovation Park in Japan.

Takeda will have a 33.4% stake in the new company while Astellas and SMBC will have 33.4% and 33.2% stakes, respectively.

The new company will concentrate on three primary objectives: advancing Japanese-originating drug discovery programmes to the global market; nurturing drug discovery technology and entrepreneurship; and enhancing Japan’s drug discovery ecosystem through high-quality startups.

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Furthermore, the JV plans to initiate incubation activities by collaborating with academic institutions, pharmaceutical companies, and startups throughout Japan.

This collaboration aims to provide access to early drug discovery programmes with the potential to transform the industry.

The three companies will further discuss the details of the agreement for the completion of the JV inception and begin its operations.

Last month, the US Food and Drug Administration approved Takeda’s Entyvio subcutaneous administration as a maintenance therapy to treat adults with moderately to severely active Crohn’s disease.

This content was updated on 25 January 2024