Takeda, KSQ Join Forces to Identify NK Cell Targets For Cancer Therapies

Cancer therapy without a doubt will be one of the most trending topics in 2021. As several contenders push their way into the field, on January 13, Japanese biopharma, Takeda joined forces with US based KSQ Therapeutics to develop, manufacture and commercialize immuno-oncology therapies.


This strategy fits Takeda’s long-term growth plan on creating innovative therapies on 5 chosen areas, which is Gastroenterology (GI), Rare Diseases, Plasma-Derived Therapies, Oncology, and Neuroscience.


T-cell and NK cells for New Cancer Treatments


The collaboration will mainly involve the two T-cell targets identified and validated by KSQ Therapeutics, with the potential of two additional T-cell targets. In addition, Takeda will utilize KSQ’s CRISPRomics discovery platform to screen the whole human genome to spot natural killer (NK) cell targets for autoimmune and oncology therapeutics.


“KSQ’s CRISPRomics discovery platform is a powerful technology to help us identify novel targets in line with our immuno-oncology strategy,” said Loïc Vincent, Head, Oncology Drug Discovery Unit and Immunology Unit at Takeda.

He further stated, “The T-cell and NK-cell target discovery approach complements our portfolio aimed at turning cold tumors hot and redirecting the innate immune system to elicit a sustained and durable immune response against tumors”.


Details of Collaboration


Takeda will offer 100 million upfront and preclinical milestone payments and up to 400 million each for development and commercialization milestones in exchange of an exclusive, worldwide, royalty-bearing license to develop, manufacture and commercialize cell and non-cell therapy products. 


While Takeda lead the clinical development of IND-enabling activities with KSQ and also pay for expenses in the process, KSQ is able to assume responsibility in one of the two T-cell targets, sharing cost and profit of the process and retain royalties on all ex-U.S. sales for that product.


Related Article: China’s Hasten Biopharmaceutic Acquires Five Non-Core Assets from Japan’s Takeda



1. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210113005121/en/

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