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September 26, 2014

Takeda, BioMotiv Launch $25M Drug Development Partnership

  • Takeda Pharmaceutical has teamed up with BioMotiv to identify and develop new therapeutics under a partnership that will generate at least 25 oku-yen (about $25 million) over five years from the pharma giant to the biotech accelerator.

    Takeda’s stake or “initial investment” includes securing exclusive rights to programs sourced by BioMotiv, the partners said, describing those programs as “specifically in the therapeutic areas of immunology and inflammation, and cardio-metabolic diseases.”

    “This strategic relationship with Takeda provides for a seamless continuum of expertise to aggressively advance physician-scientist derived therapeutic innovations through proof of concept and into clinical development and eventual commercialization,”Baiju R. Shah, BioMotiv’s CEO, said in a statement.

    Launched in 2012, BioMotiv is the for-profit accelerator of The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development, a $250 million effort focused on commercializing drugs developed by physician scientists. The project is centered at Cleveland’s University Hospitals, and also includes the not-for-profit Harrington Discovery Institute.

    “Participation in the Harrington Project offers an important opportunity to stay closely connected to physician-patient dialog, and work with a broader community of individuals committed to truly impactful medical innovation,” added Tetsuyuki Maruyama, general manager of Takeda’s Pharmaceutical Research Division.

    BioMotiv aims to bridge the funding dearth or “Valley of Death” between the seed stage and product launch that is typically experienced by startups. But where may other accelerators, incubators, and venture capitalists work to achieve the same goal by investing in new companies formed around promising technologies, BioMotiv instead takes stakes in new drugs and technology platforms deemed to have market potential.

    Through its staff and an advisory board, BioMotiv selects, funds, and actively manages and advances a portfolio of drug and tech platform development programs. According to its website, the accelerator’s portfolio includes programs from: 

    • Orca Pharmaceuticals, a developer of oral drugs for chronic inflammatory diseases, including psoriasis and ankylosing spondylitis, using technology developed by inventors from New York University—the NYU Innovation Venture Fund is a funding partner with BioMotiv—in collaboration with the company’s founders in the U.K.
    • Dual Therapeutics, a developer of drugs for prostate cancer, lung cancer, and acute lymphoblastic leukemia, based on IP exclusively licensed from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
    • Kodosil Bio, which is developing the IL-22 antibody under an exclusive worldwide license from BioAtla for indications that include inflammatory bowel diseases, colorectal cancer, and psoriasis.
    • Retinal Degeneration Project, a $400,000 partnership with the medical research  nonprofit Foundation Fighting Blindness that was launched last year to fund development of treatments for retinal degeneration—the partners have cited retinitis pigmentosa (RP)—as well as macular degeneration, based on research by Donald Zack, M.D., Ph.D., of the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins.

    BioMotiv states that it “is interested in licensing technologies across all disease areas and types of therapeutics—small molecules, antibodies, proteins, cell therapies, and nucleotides”—as well as in supporting products from pre-clinical through early clinical stages of development.

    The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development takes its name from the former owners of Edgepark Medical Supplies—the Harrington family, from which the project raised its first $50 million. 

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