Takeda is acquiring Maverick Therapeutics, a private biopharma pioneering conditionally active bispecific T-cell targeted immunotherapies.
Takeda will obtain Maverick’s T-cell engager COBRA platform and a broad development portfolio, including Maverick’s lead development candidate TAK-186 (MVC-101).
The candidate is currently in a Phase 1/2 study for the treatment of EGFR-expressing solid tumours, and TAK-280 (MVC-280). It is anticipated to enter the clinic in the second half of Takeda’s fiscal year 2021 for the treatment of patients with B7H3-expressing solid tumours.
After closing of the transaction, Maverick employees will join Takeda’s Research & Development organization.
“By supporting pioneers like Maverick working in emerging areas of science, we can share expertise, resources and risk to bring transformational new therapies to patients faster,” said Chris Arendt, head of the Oncology Therapeutic Area Unit of Takeda.
“Maverick’s cutting-edge COBRA platform is an exciting addition to our oncology portfolio that provides a novel conditional bioengineering approach to advance redirected immunotherapies against solid tumours.”
Maverick’s COBRA platform is designed to safely target a broad range of solid tumours with highly specific and potent activity while limiting toxicities in normal tissues.
Unlike standard T-cell engaging immunotherapies that are systemically active when administered, COBRA-engineered, protein-based therapies are engineered to exploit the tumour microenvironment, triggering T-cell-mediated killing only at the site of the tumour while sparing damage to patients’ healthy tissues.
The COBRA platform complements Takeda’s approach to redirecting immune cells to target cancer with the potential to unlock efficacy in solid tumours.
The acquisition follows a multi-year collaboration between Takeda and Maverick signed in 2017 to develop conditionally active T-cell engager therapies, in which Takeda received an equity stake and an exclusive right to purchase Maverick after five years.
Based on the success of the lead programs and the promise of the COBRA platform, Takeda exercised its option to acquire Maverick for a pre-negotiated upfront payment as well as potential development and regulatory milestones totalling up to $525 million, subject to certain adjustments, including for Takeda’s current equity stake and Maverick debt.
The deal is expected to be finalised in Q1 of Takeda’s fiscal year 2021.