Gencia and Takeda to develop novel class of mitochondrial therapeutics

Collaboration will explore the potential therapeutic uses of MAGR compounds and the possibilities for their safe and effective chronic use

Gencia and Takeda have announced a partnership to develop a new class of small molecule drugs as potential treatments for haematological and inflammatory diseases. Called mitochondrial agonists of the glucocorticoid receptor (MAGR), such compounds may offer the therapeutic potential of conventional glucocorticoid drugs (steroids); however, as MAGR are chemically distinct, they may function differently from steroids.

The initial aim of the collaboration will be to research and develop two preclinical drug candidates, one each in the areas of inflammation and oncology. Takeda will explore opportunities to conduct clinical trials for drug candidates identified by the partnership.

Under the terms of the agreement, Gencia will receive upfront payments and preclinical milestones for the two compounds and aggregate clinical, commercialisation and sales milestones with the potential for approximately US$500m in payments by Takeda. Gencia also will receive royalties on sales of any successfully commercialised products arising from the partnership. Further details of the agreement were not disclosed.

‘This collaboration and license agreement with Takeda marks an important milestone in the growth and development of our company,’ said Allen Cunningham, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gencia. ‘Takeda’s strength in drug discovery and development and, in particular, its commitment to oncology and inflammation drug research, provides Gencia with the opportunity to advance our mitochondrial targeting platform and MAGR compounds into the clinic, and ultimately to patients in need of these therapies.’

Dr Tetsuyuki Maruyama, General Manager, Head of Pharmaceutical Research Division at Takeda, added: ‘We are delighted to partner with Gencia to create new medicines designed to be chemically and functionally different from steroids, but that may still be effective in treating a broad spectrum of diseases for which chronic steroids are currently prescribed. We expect to change the paradigm for how patients are treated by potentially avoiding the issues that result from long-term steroid use.’