Japan's Takeda puts down $65M in rare disease pact

Osaka-based Takeda Pharmaceutical has invested $65 million to co-develop as many as 6 product candidates to treat rare diseases, working with biotech Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical ($RARE) as the company further combs early stage programs.

Under the terms, according to a press release, Ultragenyx will license and co-develop at least one candidate from Takeda. In return Takeda will invest in Ultragenyx in 2 tranches, with the first a $25 million purchase of Ultragenyx shares and $15 million in cash. The second will be a $25 million equity purchase, with the potential milestones, royalties and other financial metrics not disclosed.

Ultragenyx will receive the undisclosed preclinical candidate to tackle a targeted, but unnamed, rare disease and get an exclusive option to jointly develop and commercialize any product as well as additional therapeutic areas.

In addition, under a 5 year research pact, Ultragenyx has an option to license up to 5 additional Takeda rare disease candidates, with Takeda eligible for an exclusive option to commercialize any products developed in Asia, along with an option to exclusively license one Ultragenyx pipeline treatment in Japan.

“This broad collaboration provides Ultragenyx with a product opportunity that is approaching clinical-stage development as well as a potential continued source of new product candidates that will help us achieve our goal of bringing a new therapy into the clinic every 1 to 2 years,” Ultragenyx CEO Emil D. Kakkis said in a statement.

In addition, Takeda may make a third equity investment in Ultragenyx depending on a milestone tied to one of the 5 other product candidates.

Takeda has done earlier deals in the rare disease area, including 2 collaborations with BioXcel last year, part of a busy series of steps since Christophe Weber took over the helm last year and moved to focus on potential first-in-class therapies in gastroenterology, oncology and CNS in-house.

At the same time, the company has moved out of areas like respiratory, with a sale of therapies in that space last year to AstraZeneca ($AZN) for $575 million. It also returned the obesity drug Contrave to Orexigen Therapeutics following a clinical trials spat.

- here's the release

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