KSQ Therapeutics has joined forces with Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceutical to research, develop, and commercialise novel immuno-oncology therapies.
Under the deal, the US-based biotech company has granted an exclusive, worldwide, royalty-bearing license to Takeda Pharmaceutical pertaining to cell and non-cell therapy products that modulate targets identified using its CRISPRomics technology.
The Japanese pharma company will have the rights to develop, manufacture, and commercialise the products.
The agreement includes two T-cell targets that were identified and validated previously by KSQ Therapeutics. There is a possibility to add two more T-cell targets to the partnership.
The pharma companies will also work together in discovering and developing therapeutics that modulate natural killer (NK) cell targets to be identified via the collaboration.
Takeda Pharmaceutical oncology drug discovery unit and immunology unit head Loïc Vincent said: “KSQ’s CRISPRomics discovery platform is a powerful technology to help us identify novel targets in line with our immuno-oncology strategy.
“The T-cell and NK-cell target discovery approach complements our portfolio aimed at turning cold tumours hot and redirecting the innate immune system to elicit a sustained and durable immune response against tumours.
“Working alongside KSQ will facilitate smart drug discovery and development of what we hope will be transformative new therapies for patients with intractable forms of cancer.”
As per the terms of the deal, KSQ Therapeutics stands to earn over $100m from upfront and potential preclinical milestone payments.
Additionally, the company will be entitled to additional option payments and also the development and commercialisation milestone payments.
Depending on the target, the option and milestone payments could turn out to more than $400m per programme, said the US biotech company.
KSQ Therapeutics will also be able to earn tiered royalties on the net sales of each of the approved products.
The two firms could collaborate on investigational new drug-enabling activities, with clinical development to be steered by Takeda Pharmaceutical for exploring various modalities.
The Japanese firm will take care of the funding of all development and commercialisation activities.
Its partner will have the option to take part in cost/profit sharing on one of the two products based on the previously identified and validated T-cell targets in the US. KSQ Therapeutics will retain royalties on all ex-US sales for that product.
KSQ Therapeutics board chairman Theo Melas-Kyriazi said: “KSQ gathered significant momentum during the past six months. We have continued to advance our wholly-owned lead programs, KSQ-4279 and KSQ-001, with an IND filing for KSQ-4279 planned for this year.
“This foundational strategic alliance with Takeda builds on our CRISPRomics platform and deep expertise in immuno-oncology, which will enable us to continue to discover and develop important therapeutics for cancer patients.”