Engitix Ltd., a biotechnology company developing a portfolio of programmes in fibrosis and solid tumours using its proprietary human extracellular matrix (ECM) platform, April 12th entered into an agreement with Takeda to expand an existing collaboration to now include the discovery and development of novel therapeutics for fibrostenotic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Under the terms of this agreement, Engitix and Takeda will collaborate in the confirmation and validation of targets and the preclinical development of therapeutics in IBD using Engitix’s unique extracellular matrix discovery platform.
Takeda will have exclusive rights to develop and commercialise certain clinical candidates generated against validated targets arising from the collaboration. Engitix will receive an upfront payment, with additional near-term payments based on the confirmation and functional validation of selected targets.
Engitix will be eligible to receive a total of up to approximately $300 million for the achievement of preclinical, development, regulatory and commercial milestones throughout the partnership, as well as further royalty payments based on sales of commercialised products.
Dr Giuseppe Mazza, Co-Founder and CEO of Engitix, commented:
We are delighted that based on positive progress in our existing R&D partnership in liver diseases, Takeda has extended the scope of the drug discovery collaboration to now include fibrostenotic IBD. It underlines the value they see in using our ECM platform and the successful COOPERATION we have established. ECM remodelling plays a key role in driving IBD pathogenesis forward and targeting this process in a specific and fine-tuned manner may contribute to the treatment of IBD by preventing both propagated inflammation, fibrosis and STRUCTURING disease.
By incorporating tissue- and disease-specific human ECM from the extensive biobank of human tissues into in vitro models Engitix’s platform preserves the natural cell microenvironment offering the unique capability of understanding the bioactive role of human ECM in modulating disease progression in fibrosis and solid tumours. By more accurately predicting disease drivers in human samples including proprietary bioinformatic tools, the platform has the potential to accelerate discovery and reduce late-stage clinical failures.
Dr Gareth Hicks, Head of the GI Drug Discovery Unit at Takeda, added:
Partnerships are central to our R&D strategy, forming collaborations anchored around novel scientific approaches in disease areas where patients’ needs are greatest. Engitix’s ECM platform will help accelerate the identification and validation of novel targets that will be valuable in our search for better therapies for all those affected by GI and liver diseases.
Fibrostenosis is intestinal inflammation-driven fibrotic obstruction, most commonly seen in the Crohn’s disease (CD) category of IBD. Some 0.8% of the population of Western advanced countries are estimated to have IBD, with this forecast to rise to over 1% by 2030.
There is no cure for IBD and the rates of primary and secondary treatment failure among current therapies are high. Fibrostenotic CD patients in particular have a high disease burden; stricture-induced intestinal obstruction is the most common indication for surgery within CD, with up to 70% of fibrostenotic CD patients requiring multiple surgical procedures. There is currently no clinical treatment for intestinal fibrosis pathology in IBDs. Thus, a significant unmet need remains for this population of patients to have therapies that alter their disease course.
This agreement builds on the collaboration between the companies announced in mid-2020 for the discovery and development of novel therapeutics for advanced fibrotic liver diseases, including non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.