Takeda Pharmaceutical will use Enterome’s metagenomic platform to discover new small molecules or biologics derived from gut bacteria and directed to gastrointestinal (GI) targets selected by both companies.

Takeda and Enterome said they will jointly research and develop potential new therapeutics directed at microbiome targets thought to play crucial roles in GI disorders, including inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis, and motility disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome.

GI is part of Takeda’s “general medicine” core therapeutic area, one of six areas on which the company focuses R&D efforts. The others are cardiovascular and metabolic, central nervous system, oncology, respiratory and immunology, and vaccines.

Takeda has an option to exclusively license selected new agents globally, and has agreed to oversee their regulatory and clinical development as well as their commercialization.

In return, Takeda agreed to pay Enterome an upfront payment and three years of R&D funding, and will be eligible to receive additional payments for each molecule discovered through the collaboration in the form of option exercise, development, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments.

Additionally, Enterome is eligible to receive potential tiered royalties on the net sales of any products commercialized by Takeda.

Enterome was established in 2012 in Paris to develop discoveries made by the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) metagenomic platform. The company has raised a total of €17.5 million ($18.8 million) from venture capital investors Seventure Partners, Lundbeckfond Ventures & Omnes Capital, as well as two strategic investors, Shire & INRA’s tech transfer subsidiary INRA Transfert.

“In partnering with scientists at Enterome, who perform cutting-edge research into microbiome-derived agents, Takeda is able to explore this exciting science and bring innovative therapies forward,” Gareth Hicks, Ph.D., Takeda’s head of gastroenterology drug discovery, said in a statement.

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