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CellCentric licenses epigenetic discovery programme to Takeda

CellCentric, a Rainbow Seed Fund investment, has licensed exclusively to Takeda Pharmaceutical Company the development and commercialisation of an epigenetic discovery programme focused on cancer.

Under the terms of the new agreement, CellCentric will receive from Takeda an upfront payment and pre-clinical and clinical milestones, in addition to royalties.

Based on the royalties and milestones defined, the overall deal could be worth in excess of USD200m to CellCentric over the course of the agreement.

Therapeutic research will be initiated by Takeda’s research group. Development of molecules stemming from this agreement will be completed by Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company, which is responsible for Takeda’s global oncology development strategy.

CellCentric has a platform built upon relationships with over 30 research labs in epigenetics. The company has identified and prioritised multiple next generation targets and runs a series of active drug discovery programmes from its centre in Cambridge, UK.

CellCentric’s strategy is to develop some target programmes through licences and collaborations with pharmaceutical companies while retaining other programmes for development itself.

Dr Hiroyuki Odaka, general manager of the pharmaceutical research division of Takeda, says: “Epigenetics is an important area for novel oncology therapeutics. This new agreement demonstrates our commitment to researching and pioneering the best ways to treat cancer. ”

Dr Will West, chief executive of CellCentric, adds: “This licence is a strong endorsement of the way we are approaching innovation in epigenetics. This is an area that is no longer seen as just interesting, but as a necessity for pharmaceutical companies growing their armoury for tackling intractable diseases such as cancer.”

The GBP10m Rainbow Seed Fund was established in 2002 with funding from the Office of Science and Innovation to commercialise scientific research in a group of UK publicly funded institutions. The fund, which is independently managed by Midven, made its first investment in 2002 and currently has a portfolio of 22 companies with one exit.

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