Japanese pharma and Australian biotech to collaborate on blood cancer research

19 Jul 2018

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, Japan’s largest pharmaceutical company, has signed a research collaboration agreement with Australian immuno-oncology company HaemaLogiX.

The research will focus on new treatments for patients with multiple myeloma – a blood cancer caused by malignant plasma cells, a type of white blood cell.

A HaemaLogiX media release explains that the company is involved in an area of cancer research, immuno-oncology, that is generating excitement worldwide within the scientific and medical community. This collaboration aims to explore the application of HaemaLogiX's novel antigens with different treatment forms. Both companies hope this may lead to the development of new and effective treatment options for patients with myeloma.

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company is one of the leading companies in the field of myeloma with two established treatments marketed globally.

‘This new partnership will be the first step toward commercialisation of the company’s core technology with a global leader in the myeloma field,’ says Bryce Carmine, Chairman and CEO of HaemaLogiX. ‘It would be terrific for HaemaLogiX if this process leads to further steps in our collaboration in the future.

‘For now, HaemaLogiX retains the full ability to pursue its antibodies in applications outside of the scope of this collaboration.’

The first step is an agreed pre-clinical research plan that will build on HaemaLogiX’s existing understanding of the prevalence and characteristics of its novel target antigens on the surface of malignant myeloma cells. The company’s research suggests these antigens may be an important target of new treatments for multiple myeloma in the future.

The two phases of this collaboration – confirming and characterising these target antigens plus researching novel agents – are expected to take up to two years. HaemaLogiX and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company have not disclosed the financial terms of the collaboration.

Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Takeda Pharmaceuticals was founded in 1781.

In June 2018, Takeda launched the Co-Create Knowledge for Pharma Innovation with Takeda (COCKPI-T®) program in Australia. The funding program, which closed on 16 July, offered up to A$100,000 of research funding, as well as in-kind support from Takeda personnel, to support successful early-stage research proposals in Takeda’s core focus areas of research.