In a strategic alliance announced today, Takeda Pharmaceutical and enGene will begin work on a delivery system they term the “gene pill,” a novel therapy for the treatment of gastrointestinal (GI) disease. The pair will work on discovery, development, and commercialization, leveraging enGene’s non-viral vector platform in research involving two Takeda-selected targets.

After preclinical proof of concept and IND-enabling studies, Takeda will have the option to license global rights for any promising candidates and then be responsible for further development and commercialization.

For its part, enGene will receive upfront payments of an undisclosed amount as well as reimbursement for research and development costs accrued. It will also be eligible to earn milestone payments based on meeting certain specific research, clinical, regulatory, and commercial goals, with royalties promised on the back end.

The companies also intend to pair on an oral antibody gene pill platform, with Takeda having options on up to three targets. The privately held enGene has been working on these gene pill delivery systems, which are designed to take effect on mucosal cells lining the gut, a concept that would include oral and enema treatment to localize delivery of immune-modulating proteins that could be used to treat a range of immune disorders.

This agreement is one of several that Takeda has entered into in recent months for the development of GI and gene therapies. enGene also partners with Janssen in development of therapies for inflammatory bowel disease.

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