The expanded collaboration will combine Takeda’s expertise in the rare disease space with Evozyne’s protein engineering capabilities


Takeda, Evozyne enter gene therapy partnership. (Credit: Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay)

Takeda has teamed up with molecular engineering company Evozyne to research and develop proteins for potential use in gene therapies against up to four rare disease targets.

The Japanese drugmaker has signed a strategic research collaboration and license agreement with Evozyne, which was established by Paragon Biosciences.

The collaboration will combine Takeda’s expertise in the rare disease space with Evozyne’s protein engineering capabilities, to deliver treatments for patients with serious genetic diseases.

The current agreement follows an earlier partnership between the companies, centred on the potential of Evozyne’s protein engineering platform.

Under the terms of the expanded agreement, Evozyne is expected to develop novel protein sequences to advance the gene therapies against Takeda’s targets.

Takeda can obtain an exclusive license to develop and market novel protein sequences for its gene therapies, after the completion and review of certain research deliverables.

Evozyne is eligible to receive upfront and research funding payments, and milestone payments of up to $400m in addition to tiered royalties on net sales.

Takeda rare diseases drug discovery unit head Madhu Natarajan said: “Producing highly differentiated transgenes is critical to advancing the next generation of gene therapies.

“By expanding our collaboration with Evozyne, we have the opportunity to leverage their novel protein engineering platform across new disease targets with the hope of one day delivering functional cures to patients living with rare genetic diseases.”

Evozyne co-founder and chief scientific officer Rama Ranganathan said: “This collaboration allows the continued development of next-generation gene therapies that have the potential to make a positive impact on patients suffering from serious and life-threatening genetic diseases.”

Evozyne co-founder and CEO Jeff Aronin said: “Our continued work with Takeda affirms Evozyne’s unique capability to provide advanced, targeted novel proteins that have remarkable potential in numerous applications.”

Evozyne is an adaptive biology company that combines evolution and deep learning technology to develop highly functional novel proteins, dubbed Natural Machines.

Its technology amplifies a protein’s function based on the rules of nature to address complex, high-impact problems.

The company integrates its closed-loop learning, high throughput gene synthesis, and automated assays to mimic millions of years of natural evolution in the laboratory.