Japanese Pharma Firm to Pay $4B for Single Drug

December 14, 2022 by Dan McCue
Japanese Pharma Firm to Pay $4B for Single Drug
(Takeda photo)

TOKYO — Japanese Pharma firm Takeda has agreed to pay $4 billion in cash for a single drug invented by Nimbus Therapeutics, a Boston, Massachusetts-based biotechnology company.

The drug Takeda is buying (NDI-034858) blocks selective allosteric tyrosine kinase 2 (also known as TYK2), a signaling protein that affects how cells respond to common inflammatory molecules in the blood.

Initial studies of the drug have focused on its potential to treat psoriasis, but Takeda said in a press release that it intends to develop it as a medicine for autoimmune disorders including inflammatory bowel disease, psoriatic arthritis and lupus. 

The transaction represents the largest up-front fee ever paid for a single, unapproved drug. Once the transaction is complete, NDI-034858 will be known as TAK-279.

“Adding this TYK2 inhibitor to our late-stage pipeline gives Takeda an exciting program that has the potential to significantly expand our portfolio and patient impact, while enhancing our growth strategy, ” said Christophe Weber, president and chief executive officer of Takeda, in a written statement.

“We are confident we can execute a broad development program and deliver a best-in-class therapy for these patients, given Takeda’s strong background in immune-mediated diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease,” he said.

Nimbus recently disclosed positive top-line results from a phase 2b study evaluating NDI-034858 in patients with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis. 

Takeda intends to present results from this phase 2b study early in 2023. NDI-034858 is anticipated to enter phase 3 in psoriasis in 2023. It is in an ongoing phase 2b study in active psoriatic arthritis, and Takeda plans to investigate it for the treatment of IBD and other autoimmune diseases.

Under the terms of the agreement, Takeda will pay Nimbus $4 billion upfront, and two milestone payments of $1 billion each upon achieving annual net sales of $4 billion and $5 billion. The upfront payment will be primarily funded by cash on hand.

The transaction is expected to be finalized before the end of FY2022. Closing of the transaction is contingent upon completion of review under antitrust laws, including the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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