After Five Year Oncology Alliance, Takeda Acquires Maverick to Embark on Solid Tumor Quest
Takeda has been devoted to expanding its novel immuno-oncology profile since five years ago when it began to collaborate with Maverick Therapeutics, which specializes in developing T-cell therapy to treat solid tumor cancers. On March 9th, Takeda finally acted upon its buy-out clause and acquired Maverick with up to $525 million in upfront payment and potential milestone payments.
Through the acquisition, Takeda will lay its hands on Maverick’s T-cell engager COBRA platform and a broad development portfolio, including Maverick’s lead development candidates TAK-186 (MVC-101) and TAK-280 (MVC-280).
“Collaboration is paramount to our R&D strategy and our pursuit of novel approaches to treat cancer. By supporting pioneers like Maverick working in emerging areas of science, we can share expertise, resources, and risk to bring transformational new therapies to patients faster. Maverick’s cutting-edge COBRA platform is an exciting addition to our oncology portfolio that provides a novel conditional bioengineering approach to advance redirected immunotherapies against solid tumors.” said Chris Arendt, Ph.D., Head of the Oncology Therapeutic Area Unit of Takeda.
Maverick Therapeutics’ COBRA platform is a mature, conditionally active bispecific T-cell engaging platform designed to safely target a broad range of solid tumors with high specificity and potency while limiting toxicities in healthy tissues.
Unlike the traditional T-cell engaging immunotherapies that are already active when administered, COBRA-engineered, protein-based therapies turn on T-cell mediated killing only in the tumor microenvironment to reduce damage to normal cells and tissues. With the platform, Takeda can direct its existing immune cell therapies to target more effectively and safely.
Maverick’s Lead Oncology Candidates
TAK-186 and TAK-280 are designed to target solid tumors derived from EGFR and B7H3, both of which are expressed in malignant and healthy tissues. According to several preclinical models, the exposure of TAK-186 and TAK-280 at a safe and effective dosage demonstrates an increased therapeutic index compared to traditional T-cell engagers.
Even so, both of them are universal solutions and thus can be widely applied to solid tumors. TAK-186 targets include but are not limited to treating colorectal, head and neck, renal, pancreatic, cervical as well as non-small cell lung cancers; while, TAK-280 focuses on but is not limited to prostate, renal, triple negative breast, head, and neck, ovarian as well as urothelial cancers.
TAK-186 is currently in a Phase 1/2 study for the treatment of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expressing solid tumors, while TAK-280 is expected to enter the clinic in the second half of Takeda’s fiscal year in 2021 for the treatment of patients with B7H3-expressing solid tumors.
Since 2017, Takeda and Maverick have agreed to co-develop conditionally active T-cell engager therapies, in which Takeda received an equity stake and an exclusive right to buy Maverick after five years. The apparent accomplishment has led Takeda to actualize the acquisition.
The acquisition also integrated Maverick’s employees, including its team of talented scientists, into Takeda’s Research & Development organization. Upon deal closure, Takeda will complete the review of antitrust laws, including the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 in the U.S.
By Judy Ya-Hsuan Lin
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