Takeda revs R&D dealmaking engine again with NsGene deal on Parkinson's device

The R&D collaboration efforts keeping coming from Osaka-based Takeda Pharmaceutical with a push now on Parkinson's disease with NsGene looking at a regenerative therapy involving a biotherapeutic brain implant.

Detailed financial details were not disclosed in a press release from Takeda, but NsGene will receive funding aimed at carrying research forward through milestones.

The research is aimed at developing "encapsulated cell therapies for the potential treatment of Parkinson's disease. The partnership will focus on the delivery of recombinant Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF) to affected brain regions by way of implanted, encapsulated cell therapy devices."

The device would be implanted in the brain surgically using imaging technology in a region linked to neuronal degeneration.

The technology developed at Brown University by NsGene, which was founded in Denmark, is in preclinical development.

"The device contains genetically engineered cells encased in an immune-shielding capsule that can continuously produce therapeutic levels of bio therapeutics for an extended time after implantation," the release said. "GDNF is a neurotrophic factor that has been shown in preclinical systems to promote axon growth and protect dopaminergic neurons when delivered directly to the diseased cells for an extended duration."

Takeda this week inked a deal to study gene sequences of microbiomes to find new therapy pathways with France's Enterome Bioscience as part of its broad push into therapies for gastrointestinal disorders.

The financial terms were similar to a point, but more importantly was the cutting-edge focus. The company said the aim was to look at regenerative medicine as a "potential new modality to treat diseases."

In December, Takeda said it would spend $164 million on a joint research project with Kyoto University's Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA) that will research using induced pluripotent stem cells to develop treatments in 6 fields that include cancer, heart failure and diabetes.

French-born Takeda CEO Christophe Weber will have completed a year at the helm in April in which he has moved aggressively. He settled a class action lawsuit related to Actos in the U.S. for $2.3 billion, lined up a series of deals in the biotech space and struck a generics pact with Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ($TEVA), among other actions.

- here's the release from Takeda