The agreement marks the second foray this year into the gene therapy space for Takeda, after the company signed a research agreement with Evotec during April.
In the Japanese company’s latest deal, Takeda has formed a research collaboration with Carmine Therapeutics for the discovery, development and commercialization of two non-viral gene therapies targeting rare diseases.
Takeda has offered $5m (€4.4m) as part of a convertible loan that Carmine will use to develop its Regent platform.
In addition, Carmine will receive an undisclosed upfront payment, research funding support and is eligible to receive over $900m in milestone payments, with royalties also added into the deal.
The technology at the heart of the deal sees Carmine producing red blood cell extracellular vesicles to deliver gene therapies, differing from the adeno-associated virus (AAV) delivery commonly utilized.
Carmine states that its form of delivery has the potential for repeat dosing, a larger transgene payload, and enhanced bio-distribution in selected tissues.
For its part, Takeda’s rare disease drug discovery unit head, Madhu Natarajan, said that the company is focused on expanding its presence in gene therapy by establishing ‘a network of innovative partners’.
In particular, Natarajan claimed that the technology being developed by Carmine could ‘leapfrog’ current AAV gene therapies, with the level of demand for services to create such therapies placing pressure on the capacity to produce them.
For Carmine, the deal with the big pharma partners represents a major step, after having only been founded in 2019 and having raised $9.4m in financing to date, including Takeda’s loan.